Philippine ferry sinks dozens still missing
Philippine Navy rescuers managed to save 931 passengers and crew members on board a huge ferry that tilted and sank early Sunday morning in the waters off the archipelago’s southern coast, officials said.
Glenn Rabonza, executive officer of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), said Sunday evening that search is still on for the 28 missing from the capsized Super ferry 9 that carried 964 people on board.
Rabonza said navy ships, coast guard teams, commercial and fishery vessels are operating in the accident site, about 9.5 nautical miles west of Siocon town of Zamboanga del Norte province, to account for the missing.
NDCC Chairman Gilbert Teodoro earlier told a press briefing that the ship’s captain sent out a distress call at around 4 a.m. (0800 GMT) Sunday as the vessle was seriously tilting to its right-side.
Coast guard authorities said passengers were given life-jacketsand told of the captain’s order to abandon ship. Two cargo vessles stood by to collect the transferred passengers while the coast guard sent it rescue boats to the scene.
“I was wakened to the noise in the cabin. They asked us to jump off the ship to the life-boats,” a survivor told Xinhua after she was ferried to the Zamboanga port late Sunday. “The life-boats are not enough and I think some people were panic and failed to escape.”
Officials said the ship, which left southern city of General Santos Saturday and headed for central city of Iloilo, totally sank at around 10 a.m., 6 hours after it first sent the distress signal.