Monday, September 07, 2009

Panamanian vessel sinks off Central RP, 4 Koreans, 15 Filipinos; ferry survivor rescued

Photographs released by the military's Western Mindanao Command on Monday, September 07, 2009 show rescuers rushing to the Superferry 9 off Zamboanga del Norte province in the southern Philippines. At least 9 passengers were killed and dozens more are still missing after the ferry went down on Sunday. More than 900 people have been rescued from the ill-fated vessel which was heading to the central Filipino province of Iloilo from General Santos City in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 7, 2009) – The Philippine Coast Guard on Monday rescued 19 crew members of a Panamanian cargo ship which sank off Samar province.

Military search team also rescued Monday a passenger, Lita Casumlum, of the ill-fated Superferry 9 that sank off Zamboanga del Norte province over the weekend, said Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City.

She said the woman, a native of Iloilo province, was found floating at sea by 505th Search and Rescue Squadron of the Philippine Air Force and brought to Zamboanga City.

“The rescue operation is still going off Zamboanga del Norte,” she told the Mindanao Examiner.

At least 944 passengers and crew members of the Superferry 9 have been rescued since Sunday, but dozens more are still missing. At least 9 passengers were reported killed in the tragedy, including a two-year boy.

In Samar, the Coast Guard said it rescued 4 Koreans and 15 Filipinos from the MV Hera after it sank 11 nautical miles east of Hilaban Island. The crew members were on a lifeboat when they were spotted by two helicopters from the 505th Search and Rescue Squadron.

The Coast Guard said it received a report late Sunday from the Hong Kong Maritime Coordinating Center that the Panamanian vessel was taking water. It was sailing to China’s Jangiagang province from Papua New Guinea when MV Hera listed on its side.

“As of 8:50 a.m. this morning, FB (fishing boat) Pilano-3 with Philippine Coast Guard personnel on board is towing the lifeboat of MV Hera off Tubabao Island with four Korean nationals and fifteen Filipinos on board,” the Coast Guard said.

It was unknown whether the Panamanian vessel hit a reef or not, but the Coast Guard said there is an ongoing investigation and so with the Superferry 9. (Mindanao Examiner)

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