Ferry sinks in central Philippines near Burias Island

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A ferry carrying around 60 people has sunk in the central Philippines, leading to at least one death.

The vessel MV Lady of Mount Carmel sank near Burias Island early on Friday.

Coastguard reports say 34 people have been rescued so far, but the rest remain missing. The coastguard and navy are searching for survivors.

The cause of the sinking is not clear. The ship's captain said in an interview that the weather was calm at the time of the accident.

The ferry sank at around 05:00 local time (21:00 GMT).

Regional civil defence chief Raffy Alejandro told AFP news agency that the captain said most passengers were wearing life jackets.

"We expect many more will be rescued. We were able to respond quickly," he said.

Maritime accidents are common in the Philippine archipelago because of tropical weather, badly maintained passenger boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations.

The world's worst maritime disaster in peacetime occurred in the Philippines in December 1987. More than 4,000 people died when the Dona Paz ferry collided with a tanker.

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