Pattaya Daily News

22 June 2008 :: 14:06:33 pm 29121

700 Missing After Philippines Typhoon Sinks Ferry

MANILA, Philippines (AP) ? Hundreds of passengers were feared trapped and may have died after their ferry capsized in the Philippines during Typhoon Fengshen, said two survivors who struggled to shore Sunday.
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The storm left at least 155 dead, submerging entire communities and setting off landslides, said Sen. Richard Gordon, head of the national Red Cross, but there were concerns the death toll would jump dramatically.

The 72 people listed as missing did not include the more than 740 passengers and crew aboard the MV Princess of Stars, and worried relatives wept as they waited for news. Gordon said he has asked U.S. authorities for help in finding anyone who might still be alive inside the ferry and was told “they are going to try very, very hard.”

A rescue ship battling huge waves and strong winds reached the ferry Sunday, one end jutting out of the water upside-down, more than 24 hours after it lost radio contact. There was no sign of survivors at the site, and only four people who were on board were known to have reached shore alive.

“They haven’t seen anyone. They’re scouring the area. They’re studying the direction of the waves to determine where survivors may have drifted,” coast guard spokesman Lt. Senior Grade Arman Balilo said.

Villagers found six bodies ? including a man and a woman who had bound themselves together ? along with children’s slippers and life jackets that washed ashore nearby.

Officials were checking reports that a large number of survivors might have reached one nearby island and that a lift raft was spotted off another, coast guard spokesman Cmdr. Antonio Cuasito said.

“We can only pray that there are many survivors so we can reduce the number of casualties,” he said.

Reynato Lanoria, a janitor on the ship, estimated about 100 people could have survived, “but the others were trapped inside.”

“I think they are all dead by now,” he told DZMM radio after making it to shore by jumping in the water and reaching a life raft.

Lanoria said he was on the top deck when a crew member ordered people to put on life vests around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. About 30 minutes later, the ship tilted as elderly people and children fell on the rain-slickened deck.

Passenger Jesus Gica also worried that many people were trapped below when the ship listed.

“There were many of us who jumped overboard, but we were separated because of the big waves,” he said. “The others were also able to board the life rafts, but it was useless because the strong winds flipped them over.”

The ferry initially ran aground a few miles off central Sibuyan island Saturday, then capsized, said Mayor Nanette Tansingco of Sibuyan’s San Fernando.

With the upturned ferry visible from her town, she appealed for food, medicine and formalin to embalm bodies.
By PAUL ALEXANDER

to be continued


Some of the deadliest civilian maritime disasters in the Philippines

_Dec. 20, 1987: In the world’s worst peacetime shipping disaster, 4,340 people drown when the ferry Dona Paz collides with the tanker MT Victor in the Philippines.

_Oct. 1988: The Dona Marilyn ferry sinks in the central Philippines during a typhoon, killing 250.

_Dec. 1994: A freighter slams the ferry Cebu City in Manila Bay, drowning at least 34 and leaving more than 100 of about 600 passengers missing. Rescuers pluck about 450 people from the sea, many coated in the diesel oil disgorged as the ferry sank.

Dec. 1995: Dozens are killed when the overloaded MV Kimelody Cristy catches fire off Fortune Island, southwest of Manila.

 

_Feb. 1996: An overcrowded wooden ferry, ML Gretchen, capsizes close to shore of central Negros island, killing 54, including 31 children, and leaving 12 missing.

_Aug. 15, 1997: The King Rogers, a sightseeing boat, sinks after being battered by strong winds and big waves, killing four Hong Kong tourists and 12 Filipinos. About 75 others are reporting missing.

_Sept. 1998: The Princess of the Orient ferry tilts in storm-whipped waters near Batangas province south of Manila, leaving 70 dead and 80 others missing.

_Dec. 1999: An overloaded MV Asia South Korea ferry sinks in the central Philippines, killing at least 51 people, including several Nepalese students. More than 700 others are rescued.

_April 2000: The wooden-hulled Annahada ferry capsizes shortly after leaving southern Jolo Island, killing at least 87 people. Dozens of others are reported missing.

_April 2002: Wind-swept flames engulf a packed inter-island ferry in the central Philippines, killing at least 23 and sparking panic among its 290 passengers and crew, some still waking up at the end of a 12-hour overnight trip. More than 90 are injured and 13 reported missing.

_Feb. 2004: A bomb believed to have been planted by al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf extremists explode aboard the Superferry 14 near Manila Bay, igniting an inferno that kills 116 people in Southeast Asia’s second-worst terrorist attack.

_June 21, 2008: The MV Princess of the Stars, a 23,824-ton ferry, capsizes off central Sibuyan Island in a typhoon. Villagers find six bodies, while only four survivors are found in the initial hours of search efforts.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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