Cebu sea tragedy death toll rises to 94-A A +A
Thursday, August 29, 2013
CEBU (Updated 6:42 p.m.) -- Three more bodies were retrieved on Thursday, bringing the number of fatalities in the collision and ferry sinking off the coast of Talisay City, Cebu to 94, said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
Commodore Weneil Azcuna said 55 of the fatalities were identified, while 35 remain unidentified. The number of survivors remains at 733, while 43 are still missing.
In the 13th day of the search and retrieval operation, the technical divers have reached Deck A of the economy class of the sunken ship M/V Saint Thomas Aquinas to scour more bodies believed to be trapped.
Azcuna said divers smashed the right windows of the sunken ship to break in and gain access to the ill-fated ship’s cabins.
The passenger ferry M/V St. Thomas Aquinas sank after it was hit on its starboard side by cargo vessel M/V Sulpicio Express Siete last August 16.
Dr. Expedito Medalla of the Health department in Central Visayas said the unidentified bodies were preserved until a family comes to claim them. The bodies can no longer be identified through their fingerprints because these are in the final stage of decomposition.
Families of the victims are encouraged to go to Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes for the buccal swab sample, which will be needed to cross match with the DNA samples from the unidentified victims.
Minimal oil spill
Azcuna said that bunker oil is still spilling from the sunken ship but with a minimal volume.
"Divers observed that what is spilling now is 'trapped oil' that leaks when they smashed windows of the sunken ship," said Azcuna.
Councilor Dave Tumulak said shifting winds pushed the oil spill to the shores of the Tanke and Consojong in Talisay City.
Fishkill was also reported in Talisay City, but the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has yet to confirm if it was caused by the oil spill.
Listen to BFAR Central Visayas Director Andres Bojos
The Health department advised residents of Barangays Tangke and Cansojong to refrain from swimming and eating sea food from the said villages due to oil spill. (SBG/JAC/Jerson B. Rufin, PIT intern/Sunnex)