Printer Friendly

Deaths as Philippine ferry sinks.

9/6/2009 12:11:34 AM

At least five people have died but more than 800 passengers have been rescued from a ferry that sank in the southern Philippines.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, a coast guard chief, said on Sunday that most of the 847 passengers and 117 crew members on board the Superferry 9 were transferred to two nearby commercial ships about five hours after the ferry began to list.

Gilbert Teodoro, the Philippine defence minister, said two men and a child drowned.

The bodies of two other passengers were later plucked from the sea by fishermen, the coast guard said.

The guard said that three passengers were injured.

Authorities said earlier that some people had jumped into the water in panic before dawn as the vessel began to tilt to the right.

The ship sank about six nautical miles off the west coast of Zamboanga peninsula on Mindanao island, Teodoro said.

Scores 'unaccounted'

Al Jazeera's Marga Ortigas, reporting from Manila, said quoting the coast guard that a little more than 80 people were still unaccounted for.

"They don't want to qualify these people as missing or indeed possible fatalities ... because they could have also been taken to shore by fishing vessels that may not have had radio contact with the rescuers," she said.

"No names have been released, and indeed no names even of the fatalities at the moment."

Navy ships were deployed and air force helicopters were helping in the rescue.

The ship left the southern city of General Santos on Saturday and was scheduled to arrive in Iloilo city in the central Philippines on Sunday.

The ferry apparently ran into some problems midway and began to list, according to Jess Supan, vice-president of the Aboitiz Transport System, the ferry owner.

Commodore Rudy Isorena, a regional coastguard chief, said the cause of the accident was not yet clear and the weather in the area had not been too bad.

"We cannot say yet as to the cause as the attention right now is being given to the search and rescue of passengers," he said.

'Close call'

The weather was generally fair in the Zamboanga peninsula region, about 860km south of Manila, although a tropical storm was reported in the country's mountainous north, the coast guard said.

Sea accidents are common in the Philippine archipelago because of tropical storms, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations.

Our correspondent said authorities consider the incident a "close call" a year after another fatal ferry accident.

"They are saying they did avert what could have been yet another maritime disaster," Ortigas said.

"It's just been a year since the Princess of the Stars sank during a typhoon in June of last year and most of the passengers, some 500 people, were all dead on that one.

"So they consider this a rather close call but they are very pleased that some 800 people have indeed survived."

Aljazeera.net 2003 - 2009

Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
COPYRIGHT 2009 Al Bawaba (Middle East) Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Aljazeera.net
Date:Sep 6, 2009
Words:499
Previous Article:Anti-Chavez TV station faces probe.
Next Article:Badoer: 'Media drove me out'.
Topics:


Related Articles
LEAD: 21 dead after ferry capsizes in central Philippines.
TYPHOON HELL; 800 feared dead as ferry capsizes in 120mph winds.
Sinking of ferry in Philippines highlights appalling safety record.
39 die in Philippine ferry accident.
28 die, 22 missing as ferry sinks in choppy waters off Ballesteros.
'Miracle' rescue from sunken ferry.
Ferry sinks off Philippines coast.
Ferry sinks off Philippines coast.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters