Rescuers were searching for survivors late on Thursday after a ferry with 251 people on board capsized off an island south of Manila during bad weather.
By the afternoon, four people had been reported dead and 81 passengers were missing.
Armand Balilo, spokesman for the Philippine Coast Guard, said a distress call was issued before noon after the ferry capsized. Coast guard boats and army helicopters were deployed to the area of Polillo Island, Reuters reported.
However, because of heavy rain and huge waves caused by a tropical storm, rescue operations were hampered. Balilo said there was a possibility that the accident was caused by bad weather.
According to GMA News, local radio said four people were dead and 166 had been rescued. However, Balilo said the number of casualties was not yet confirmed. “We heard about casualties, but we are still trying to get a complete picture,” he said.
Tropical Storm Tembin, called “Vinta” in the Philippines, was expected to make landfall in Mindanao on Thursday evening or Friday morning. This is the 22nd tropical storm in the Philippines this year.