Cebu sea tragedy death toll: 94
MANILA, Philippines—Fourteen more bodies were recovered by divers the past two days from the sunken wreck of the St. Thomas Aquinas, bringing to 94 the death toll in the Aug. 16 collision between the passenger ship and the cargo vessel Sulpicio Express Siete off Talisay City in Cebu.
Commander Armand Balilo, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson, updated the Inquirer on the numbers on Thursday as he reiterated that the search by PCG, Philippine Navy and Philippine National Police divers, along with volunteers, was ongoing.
“The diving operations continue today,” said Balilo, also chief of the Coast Guard’s public affairs office.
Earlier, he said the divers, who had searched up to 60 percent of the ferry, were set to check the tourist cabins.
“Three more bodies were recovered this morning, in addition to the 11 found on Wednesday,” Balilo said.
As of noon on 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. All the victims were on the St. Thomas Aquinas. The Sulpicio Express Siete’s 36 crew members were all saved.
The Coast Guard station in Cebu has been making “revisions to 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 said.
The shipping firm 2GO Travel operated the St. Thomas Aquinas, while the Sulpicio Express Siete is owned by Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp., the former Sulpicio Lines that owned some of the passenger ships that figured in the biggest maritime disasters in the country.
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