PCG official tally: 80 dead, 51 missing, 733 survivors-A A +A
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Central Visayas yesterday released an official tally of the victims of the Aug. 16 collision of two vessels to eliminate confusion.
The PCG said the collision between passenger ferry m/v St. Thomas Aquinas and cargo vessel m/v Sulpicio Express Siete claimed the lives of 80 people (75 passengers and five crew members), while a total of 733 persons (629 passengers and 104 crew members) were rescued.
The body parts found, said PCG 7 District Commodore William Melad, were counted as one body, as per advice from the Department of Health 7.
The tally released by Melad also showed that 51 persons (44 passengers and seven crew members) are still missing, while six passengers are still unaccounted for.
No new bodies were recovered yesterday from m/v St. Thomas Aquinas as search, rescue and retrieval operations were suspended due to the southwest monsoon winds that made diving to the wreckage impossible.
Retrieval and rescue operations will resume at 5 a.m. today.
Authorities involved made use of the suspension to re-evaluate the list of casualties, missing persons and survivors.
Cebu Coast Guard Station Commander Weniel Azcuna explained that the six who are unaccounted for are those whose names are in the passenger manifest or list but no one has yet come forward to report that they are missing or have survived the sea mishap.
Azcuna said the 2GO Group, which operates the Aquinas, is now contacting the family of the six passengers to determine their whereabouts. He added that they are not discounting the possibility that these persons may have chosen to just go home after surviving the accident and didn't bother to get in touch with the ship operator. They may also be passengers’ relatives who listed their names in the manifest when they were merely at the 2GO terminal.
During the announcement, Melad explained that they arrived with the official tally only now because they had to validate each name in the list provided by 2GO.
“We found duplication in the survivors' list so we had to call each survivor,” Melad said. (RCT)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 27, 2013.