14 more bodies recovered from sunken ferry
MANILA—Fourteen more bodies were recovered by divers in the past two days from the sunken ferry St. Thomas Aquinas, bringing to 94 the death toll in the August 16 collision between the passenger ship and the cargo vessel Sulpicio Express Siete off Talisay City in Cebu, the Philippine Coast Guard said Thursday.
Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said search-and-rescue operations by divers from the PCG, the Navy and the Philippine National Police, as well as volunteer divers, were continuing.
“The diving operations continue today,” said Balilo, chief of the Coast Guard’s public affairs office.
Earlier, he said the divers had already covered up to 60 percent of the vessel and were scheduled to look into the ship’s tourist cabins.
According to the PCG official, “three more bodies were recovered this morning, in addition to the 11 found on Wednesday.”
As of 11:58 a.m. Thursday, the number of missing ferry passengers and crew members stood at 40. The command placed the number of rescued passengers and crew at 639 and 104, respectively.
The Coast Guard station in Cebu has been making “revisions on the number of casualties based on body parts recovered, as well as validations by 2Go Travel, the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and representatives of the Department of Health, Balilo added.
The shipping company 2Go Travel operated the St. Thomas Aquinas.