Skip to main content

Death toll hits 55 in Philippines ferry disaster

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
August 19, 2013 -- Updated 0957 GMT (1757 HKT)
Volunteers search for victims near the damaged cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete on Saturday, August 17, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry in Talisay, in the Cebu province of the Philippines. The ferry, which sank, is thought to have been carrying about 700 passengers. Volunteers search for victims near the damaged cargo ship Sulpicio Express Siete on Saturday, August 17, a day after it collided with a passenger ferry in Talisay, in the Cebu province of the Philippines. The ferry, which sank, is thought to have been carrying about 700 passengers.
HIDE CAPTION
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
Ferry collides with cargo ship in Philippines
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Diving efforts are suspended because of bad weather, PNA says
  • The ferry sank Friday after colliding with a cargo ship off Cebu City
  • Rescuers have saved 750 people, but dozens remain missing
  • More divers are expected to arrive Monday to help with search efforts

(CNN) -- Philippine navy divers retrieved bodies Monday from inside a ferry that sank last week after colliding with a cargo ship.

The discovery of more victims' remains brought the number of people confirmed dead from the disaster in the southern Philippines to 55, the Philippine Coast Guard said. Another 65 people remain missing and 750 have been rescued, it said.

The divers found the body of a child Monday near the hull of MV St. Thomas Aquinas, the sunken ferry, the official Philippines News Agency (PNA) reported.

They then managed to enter compartments of the vessel and recover more bodies, the agency said, citing Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, a navy spokesman.

But PNA reported that dive operations were suspended later in the day because of bad weather.

Another team of divers was expected to arrive within the day to help with the search and rescue efforts, Fabic said.

The collision occurred around 9 p.m. Friday in the Mactan Channel about 2 miles northwest of Cebu City, the capital of Cebu province.

Echoes of a past disaster

The St. Thomas Aquinas was coming from nearby Butuan City when the collision occurred. The cargo ship, the Sulpicio, which had about 20 people aboard, was leaving Cebu for Davao, a region on the island of Mindanao.

The passenger ferry sank, but not before sending out a distress call heard by Coast Guard officials.

The cargo vessel involved in the crash -- along with navy, Coast Guard and commercial vessels -- helped in the rescue efforts.

Photos from the scene showed a huge hole torn in the yellow bow of the Sulpicio.

The sinking recalls one of the worst maritime disasters in world history that took place on December 20, 1987, also off the Philippines.

Between 1,700 and more than 4,000 people were killed when the ferry Dona Paz collided with an oil tanker in the Tablas Strait. Reports of the total number of casualties have varied; many claim the Dona Paz was extremely overcrowded.

Philippines arrest Chinese 'poachers' after reef collision

Ships collide in North Sea

CNN's Jessica King, Kathy Quiano, Deanna Hackney and Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0102 GMT (0902 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 0945 GMT (1745 HKT)
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1402 GMT (2202 HKT)
Gene Simmons reflects on 40 years of KISS, and how even rock royalty needs sound business principles.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1033 GMT (1833 HKT)
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0915 GMT (1715 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT