TALISAY, Philippines, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- The search operation resumed Sunday morning as 85 were still missing following ship collision in central Philippine province of Cebu, a local official said.
The death toll of the mishap rose to 34 after two bodies were retrieved Sunday morning. A total of 751 people on board the ill- fated ferry M/V St. Thomas Aquinas have been rescued so far, Hilario Davide III, governor of Cebu province, told a news briefing in Talisay city.
Rescue operation, which halted Saturday evening due to high waves, resumed at 8 a.m. Sunday. "Hopefully more missing can be found alive," Davide said.
The M/V Sulpicio Express 7 cargo vessel bound for Davao City in southern Philippines collided with the passenger vessel bound for Cebu from Butuan off the coast of Talisay in Cebu Friday night. Both ships has 870 passengers and crew.
Three helicopters dispatched by the coast guard and navy were hovering over the coastline to search for the survivors. Divers sent from Manila have arrived to assist the rescue operations.
Commodore William Melad, Philippine Coast Guard commander in Central Visayas, said technical divers had gone into the sunken passenger ship to search for the missing inside. But oil leak at the scene of the incident hampered the searching effort, and even posed threat to the divers.
Emmanuel Crucio, a mentor of the marine institute attached to Cebu University, said that the pace of rescue operation was slow due to poor equipment though the divers were professional.
BEIJING, Aug. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- Bad weather has forced diving teams in the Philippines to suspend their search for survivors of Friday's ferry disaster. The Philippines' transport and communications secretary has been giving the latest on the operation.
"Latest account - there are 629 survivors, 31 casualties. So far what has been accounted for is six hundred and sixty, six-six-zero. Missing is 171. There were foreigners on board. I heard (from) particularly Administrator Mejia that the reports coming from the area are that all the foreigners are OK. So there are no accounted casualties among the foreigners. There is, I heard, a New Zealander who is now in the hospital," said Joseph Abaya, Philippines Transport & Communications Sec. Full story