CEBU CITY, Philippines—Thirteen are confirmed dead while 36 injured passengers are at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City after two ships collide on Friday night in the waters off Talisay City in Cebu province.
Inquirer Visayas coresspondent Chito Aragon was eyewitness to the 12 unidentified bodies brought ashore on Friday night. Of the original 37 wounded brought to the hospital, one died at around 1 a.m. Saturday.
She was identified as Nilen Menia, an associated hotel management student from Pitogo town, Quezon province, based on her identification card.
Rescue operations are still ongoing for the more than 600 passengers and crew of MV Saint Thomas Aquinas of 2Go, which sank after colliding with a cargo vessel about 8:45 p.m. Friday in the waters off Talisay City.
The passenger vessel, which came from Butuan, was scheduled to dock at Cebu port at 9 p.m. when it was hit by MV Sulpicio Express Seven in Lawis Ledge, Talisay, about 12 km south of here.
There were reportedly some 692 passengers on board the passenger ship, while there were about 18 men on board the cargo ship, the Philippine Coast Guard said.
Two PCG vessels and a Philippine Navy gunship were already assisting in the search and rescue operation, authorities said.
According to Aldrin Raman, a resident of Agusan, he was standing at the economy deck when he noticed that the passenger vessel was blaring its horn several times. He also saw an approaching cargo vessel.
A few minutes later, he felt the vessel shook after it was hit by the cargo vessel. The passenger vessel then tilted to its side.
Raman said he didn’t know how many minutes had lapsed when the vessel went underwater.
But he said he grabbed a nearby life jacket and jumped into the waters before the vessel finally sank. He also saw one of the crew members firing a flare gun, to signal that the vessel was in distress.
Fishermen and personnel of the nearby Fisheries Sea Ecological Care based in Barangay Cansojong noticed the flare and immediately to responded to the call.
Raman said he was rescued by one of the fishermen and was brought to FSEA. With a report from Carmel Matus, Inquirer Visayas