MANILA -- The death toll from the sinking of the MV Mercraft 3 is now at five with three passengers missing, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said.

The sea vessel was carrying 251 passengers when it sank between the waters off Dinahican, Quezon and Polillo Island Thursday morning.

Of the 251 passengers, 243 survived the incident, and were immediately brought to the Barangay Dinahican Village Hall in Quezon for immediate medical attention while the remains of the fatalities are at the Claro M. Recto Memorial District Hospital in Infanta, Quezon.

MV Mercraft 3 sank due to heavy rains and strong winds caused by Tropical Storm ‘Vinta’ (International name "Tembin), reports gathered from Marina Region 4 said.

“Per narration of the ship master Eruel Meraña, the vessel collided with a hard object on its starboard side, allegedly a steel bouy. Hence, ingress of water caused the vessel to list and flooding started. Simultaneously, they were battered with big waves estimated to be 3-5 meters high,” Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Maritime Fernando Juan Perez said in a statement Friday.

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Marina 4 has dispatched its search and rescue operations personnel 30 minutes after the accident happened.

Force multipliers from the PCG Enforcement Service arrived in Quezon Friday afternoon to monitor the condition of the survivors and extend assistance in the ongoing search and rescue operations and investigation. (PNA)