Philippines ferry disaster: Search for survivors resumes, more than 80 still missing



A survivor (L) reacts as she is reunited with a relative outside the ferry company's office in Cebu on August 17, 2013.

After worsening weather conditions forced rescuers in the Philippines on Saturday to suspend a search for survivors of Friday's ferry disaster, teams resumed on Sunday efforts to find more than 80 people who are still missing.

So far, 34 people have been confirmed dead after the ferry collided with a cargo ship near the port of Cebu at about 9 p.m. local time on Friday.

The Thomas Aquinas ferry was carrying more than 800 people at the time of the accident.

Coastguard and military vessels, as well as local fishermen, worked through Friday night to pluck more than 600 survivors from the water before the search was suspended as heavy rain reduced visibility at sea to near zero.

Rachel Capuno, a security officer for the ferry’s owners, said the ship was sailing into port when it collided head-on with the cargo ship.

“The impact was very strong,” she said, adding the ferry sank within 30 minutes of the collision.

The Philippines was sight of the world’s worst maritime disaster in peacetime, when 4,000 people died after a ferry and tanker collided in 1987.

AFP reported that the owners of the cargo ship involved in Friday's accident have confirmed their vessels were also involved in four other tragedies that left more than 5,000 people dead — including the 1987 disaster.

But Philippine Span Asia Carrier Corp. Chief Executive and President Jordan Go insisted the latest accident had nothing to do with the company's poor track record.

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