Illustrative photo (Source: AFP/VNA)

Manila, (VNA) - A ferry carrying 251 passengers capsized off the coast of the Philippines on December 21, with number of casualties remaining unspecific.

The accident occurred off the town of Real, Quezon, 70km east of Manila, as the boat headed towards the remote island of Polillo in rough weather, coastguard spokesman Armand Balilo told reporters.

He said that the number of drowned passengers is yet to be confirmed, and a rescue operation is underway.

The boat was authorised to carry 286 people, he added.

Waterway accidents frequently take place in the Philippines, which is hit by about 20 storms on an annual basis.-VNA