Friday, August 16, 2013

Ferry, cargo vessel collide in Philippines - 24 die - San Francisco Chronicle

Manila --

A ferry with more than 800 people aboard sank near the central Philippine port of Cebu on Friday night after colliding with a cargo vessel, killing at least 24 people. Hundreds were rescued.

The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas ordered the ship abandoned after it began listing and then sank after hitting the cargo vessel, coast guard officer Joy Villegas said.

The coast guard said 24 people were confirmed dead, including children, and 629 had been rescued by early Saturday. Authorities were still checking the number of others who had been taken to hospitals.

Hundreds of passengers jumped into the ocean as the ship started to sink, survivors said.

Accidents at sea are common in the Philippine archipelago because of frequent storms, badly maintained boats and weak enforcement of safety regulations.

In 1987, the ferry Dona Paz sank after colliding with a fuel tanker in the Philippines, killing more than 4,300 people in the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster.
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