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 Philippines ferry hit by typhoon

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White Tiger

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PostSubject: Philippines ferry hit by typhoon   Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:12 am

From www.BBC.co.uk


Philippines ferry hit by typhoon






There are conflicting reports about the number of passengers on board


Fears are growing for more than 700 people on board a ferry which has capsized in the central Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Fengshen.

The ship has been out of radio contact for more than 24 hours and gale force winds are hampering rescue efforts.

Officials on a nearby island have reported three survivors. They also said four bodies had been recovered.

The Red Cross estimates some 155 people have died across the country in floods and landslides caused by the storm.

The Philippine President, Gloria Arroyo, has demanded an explanation as to why the ferry was allowed to leave port on Friday despite warnings that a typhoon was about to hit.

"Why did you allow it to sail and why was there no ample warning? I want answers," she told civil defence and coast guard authorities during a briefing on the accident.

The 23,824-tonne ferry, the Princess of the Stars, has a passenger capacity of 1,992.

There is some confusion over the number of people on board.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

Ferry leaves Manila on Friday
626 passengers and 121 crew on board
Engines failed Saturday afternoon
Radio contact lost soon afterwards
Rescuers reach ship on Sunday afternoon



In pictures: Philippines typhoon

The BBC's Michael Barker, in Manila, says that according to officials the ferry was carrying 626 passengers and 121 crew. However, local reports put the figure on board as high as 820.

The vessel was en route to Cebu from Manila, and according to its owners, Sulpicio Lines, contact was lost at about 1230 (0430 GMT) on Saturday, Reuters reported.

Coastguard officials said the ferry's engine failed on Saturday afternoon and that the vessel then ran aground several kilometres off Sibuyan, in Romblon province.

Worried relatives have been gathering at the offices of Sulpicio Lines.

One relative, Lina Salinas, said she had waved off her sister on the 22-hour voyage on Friday.

"We knew it was signal number 1 (the first stage of typhoon alerts) at the time, but we were not really worried because it was not raining here at all," Lina Salinas was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

"But the ship should not been allowed to leave," she said.

A spokesman for the company said the priority was the search and rescue of passengers and that there would be no talk of responsibility at present.

The mayor of San Fernando, a coastal town in Sibuyan, said that four bodies were washed ashore on Sunday, including a man and a woman that had been tied together.

Mayor Nanette Tansingco also told local radio that three survivors had been located.

She said the upturned ferry could be seen from shore with its bow jutting out of the water.

Burst river

Typhoon Fengshen swept across the central Philippines on Saturday, leaving some 59 people dead and dozens more missing.

Typhoon Fengshen brought heavy rains and flooding to Manila on Sunday

In Iloilo, a central province, chief administrator Manuel Mejorada said most of the victims had been killed as a result of flooding caused by the storm.

"Yesterday there was hardly any villages and communities which were not under water, and where the people were literally stranded on rooftops with no food and no water, and chilling in the cold.

"Right now the floodwaters have receded, and we are shifting our efforts to bringing food, water, medicine and clothing," he told the BBC.

At its peak, the storm was packing gusts of up to 93mph (150 km/h). It changed course on Sunday, hitting the capital Manila with heavy rainfall at dawn.

Thousands of people across the country have been evacuated from their homes. Many roads are blocked and there are widespread power cuts.
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PostSubject: Re: Philippines ferry hit by typhoon   Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:06 pm

Terrible.

They had this as their big story this morning on CNN. 700 or so people missing or killed, at the time of the report they'd found perhaps 30-40 of those. A few already dead.

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