Philippines ferry Thomas Aquinas collided with cargo vessel sinks at Cebu
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Philippines ferry Thomas Aquinas collided with cargo vessel sinks at Cebu

Cebu : Philippines | Aug 16, 2013 at 11:06 PM PDT
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Skooter reports 08/17/13

After a ferry collided with a cargo and sank off the Philippines, more or less 26 people have died and more than 200 are missing. Near the central city of Cebu, MV Thomas Aquinas collided with the cargo vessel on Friday evening, officials said.

According to latest coast guard figures, the ferry was carrying 752 passengers and 118 crews. The incident occurred around 2 km or 1.2 miles from the shore.

The ship was sailing into the port at Cebu, the country's second biggest city when it crashed with the cargo ship travelling the other way at about 21:00 local time (13:00 GMT)

Rachel Capuno, a spokeswoman for the owners of the ferry, told local media that the impact was very strong. As the ferry began taking on water and listing, hundreds of passengers leaped into the sea, survivors said. The crew distributed life jackets. Lots of passengers were asleep at the time and others struggled to find their way in the dark, reports said.

Jerwin Agudong, one of the survivors, said he and other passengers jumped overboard in front of the cargo vessel. It appears a number of people were not able to get out, he told reporters. He felt sorry for the children, there were dead bodies on the side and some being rescued, he said.

Within half hour after collision, the ferry went under, the AFP news agency reports. Navy divers recovered at least four more bodies from the wreck early on Saturday, Rear Admiral Luis Tuason of the coast guard said. There could be more bodies down there but there were ropes inside the sunken ship that divers could get entangled in, he said. More divers with deep-water equipment are to be sent to help recover bodies, he added.

The ferry’s passengers embarked at Nasipit in the southern province of Agusan del Sur, a part of Mindanao. The ferry was a “roll-on, roll-off” vessel that allows vehicles to be driven aboard and is commonly used in the Philippines.

The cargo ship, Sulpicio Express 7, had 36 crew members on board, but it did not sink, another coast guard official told reporters. The cause of Friday’s collision is yet to be determined.

The world's worst maritime disaster in peacetime occurred in the Philippines in December 1987. More than 4,000 people died when the Dona Paz ferry collided with a tanker.

BBC

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The MV Thomas Aquinas was carrying more than 800, when it collided with a cargo vessel
skooter is based in Cebu, Central Visayas, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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