Death toll of sea mishap now 80-A A +A
Saturday, August 24, 2013
DIVERS found bodies and body parts of five persons yesterday, bringing the death toll of the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas-Sulpicio Express Siete sea collision to 80.
A week has passed since the accident and the number of missing passengers is down to 40.
Last Thursday, two technical divers accidentally swallowed oil leaking from the sunken M/V St. Thomas Aquinas.
Commodore Reynaldo Yoma, commander of Naval Forces Central, said the divers—a rescue volunteer and a member of the Philippine Navy—are already out of harm's way. He wished not to name them.
The divers were treated by doctors at the Incident Management Team command post at the Talisay City fish port so they were no longer brought to the hospital.
Yoma said the diver from Philippine Navy had colds and cough after ingesting the oil.
A doctor advised the diver to rest.
Yoma said when a person swallows oil, he or she may feel numbness. Swallowing a substance may cause paralysis, he added.
Yoma said search, rescue and retrieval operations for the missing passengers of M/V St. Thomas Aquinas continued yesterday.
He said divers were able to explore the ship and clear the debris inside the sunken vessel.
But divers have a hard time handling the cadavers, which are in advanced state of decomposition.
Meanwhile, Gov. Sol Matugas said the Provincial Government of Surigao del Norte will give legal assistance to constituents who will charges against those responsible for the sea tragedy.
Matugas said Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., owner of Sulpicio Express Siete, has not offered any help to passengers of M/V St. Thomas Aquinas, which sank after the collision.
She said 2GO, owner of M/V St. Thomas Aquinas, shouldered funeral and hospitalization expenses, hotel bookings of some survivors and even their plane tickets.
But Matugas said the assistance ended when the survivors landed at the airport. They were not given fare money from the airport to their final destination, she added.
She said the Provincial Government will also give financial aid of P5,000 to the
families of the casualties and P3,000 to the survivors.
Matugas visited the funeral parlor where the bodies of the passengers were prepared for burial.
Passenger of the 2GO passenger ferry came from Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Norte.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 24, 2013.