Pirates attacked a fishing boat in the southern Philippines, killing three crewmen and taking two others hostage as they fled with the vessel, a local official said on Sunday.
The pirates opened fire on the unidentified vessel late Thursday off the island of Basilan before they boarded it and killed the three crewmen, said Al Rasheed Sakkalahul, Basilan's deputy governor.
Authorities later recovered the fishing trawler but found no one on board, he said, adding the boat had been completely stripped.
"We don't know whether the two hostages are still alive or not," Sakkalahul said.
Authorities have not yet named any suspects in the case, but the area is a known stronghold for Muslim extremist groups like the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf.