Sunday, September 06, 2009

Philippine ferry sinks, 2 killed; 88 missing off Zamboanga province

Medical personnel attend to ferry disaster victims in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines on Sunday, September 6, 2009. The Philippine Coast Guard says the Superferry 9 sunk off Zamboanga del Norte province after it listed on its side and capsized. It said the vessel had 847 passengers and 117 crewmen and four sea marshals. It was unknown why the vessel, which came from General Santos City enroute to the central Philippine province of Iloilo, listed off Sirawai town. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Amilbahar Mawallil)

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / September 6, 2009) – A passenger ship carrying more than 900 people sank Sunday off Zamboanga del Norte province in the southern Philippines, military officials told the Mindanao Examiner.

Officials said two passengers were killed and 761 others have been rescued from the ill-fated Superferry 9 off Sirawai town. Other reports said at least 3 passengers were killed and dozens more are missing after the ship tilted on its side and eventually capsized and sank.

“As of last count, 761 passengers have been rescued while two dead bodies were also recovered,” said Army First Lieutenant Steffani Cacho, a spokeswoman for the Western Mindanao Command.

It was unknown why the ship listed on its side. Cacho said the ship was sailing to Iloilo province from General Santos City when its captain Jose Yap sent out a distressed signal at around 3.30 a.m. “At 8.30 in the morning, the vessel is completely capsized,” Cacho told the Mindanao Examiner.

The Coast Guard said the ship sunk at past 10 a.m. It said the vessel had 847 passengers and 117 crewmen and four sea marshals.

She said four navy boats were sent to help in the search ands rescue.

“About 30 life crafts were deployed and also four navy patrol vessels, two civilian ships, the MV Myriad and MV Ocean Integrity are conducting rescue operation together with the Coast Guard. Two UH-1H choppers and two OV-10 planes have also deployed to assist in the search and rescue,” Cacho said.

The Coast Guard said 880 people had been rescued and 88 more are still missing.

“As of 1155H, rescued passengers as per latest consolidated report by PCG units and Aboitiz Management: Aboard MV Integrity 268 persons; Aboard MV Myriad 441 persons; Aboard Navy vessel 171 persons; Casualties 3; Total accounted: 880; To be accounted: 88.”

“Total on board SF9: 968 persons when the incident happened. Ongoing rescue operations continue. The said survivors and the 2 fatalities and 4 injured will be brought to Zamboanga City for medical attention and accounting of passengers,” it said. (Mindanao Examiner)

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