Ferry sinking death toll now 71; 49 missing-A A +A
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
CEBU CITY (Updated 11 a.m.) -- Six more bodies were recovered from the sunken ferry off Talisay City in Cebu Wednesday morning, bringing the death toll in Friday’s accident to 71 as of this posting.
Divers temporarily suspended their search and rescue operations around 10 a.m. Wednesday due to strong underwater current, said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The search and rescue has been scheduled from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The PCG said it is still assessing the water condition. The search is set to resume around 1 p.m., depending on the current.
As of 11 a.m., 49 passengers of M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas remained missing.
The M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas, owned by 2GO, sank near Lawis Ledge in Talisay City after it collided with cargo vessel M/V Sulpicio Express Siete around 9 p.m. of August 16.
No new survivors were found on the fifth day since the accident, but families of the missing kept waiting for news.
Both the captains of the passenger and cargo vessels were rescued.
Incident Command Task Force spokesperson Gerry Carillo has urged the PCG to detain the captains, saying: “So many people have died. Why is the Coast Guard not doing anything?”
He told Sun.Star Cebu that the two captains may be charged with reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide.
Aside from the deaths, the sinking of M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas also resulted in an oil spill that has so far affected at least 12 barangays in Cordova town in Mactan Island.
The entire province of Cebu has been on a state of calamity, as hundreds of fishermen in coastal barangays in Cebu have been affected by the incident.
A clean-up drive is ongoing in Cordova as of this posting. (LRM/With Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)