UC Hastings Pilipino American Law Society (PALS)


Philippines Typhoon Capsizes Boat, 700 Missing by Paul Rivera
June 23, 2008, 5:07 am
Filed under: News

There was a huge typhoon in the Philippines last week causing a ferry to sink.  Of the more than 700 passengers, most are still missing.  The story from Yahoo is posted below.  Donation information will be provided soon.  Until then, lets keep our prayers with the passengers and their families.

By PAUL ALEXANDER, Associated Press Writer

MANILA, Philippines – A group of 28 ferry passengers and crew washed ashore after drifting at sea for more than a day from the site where a typhoon capsized their ship and left most of the hundreds aboard missing and presumed dead, officials said Monday.

Manila’s DZBB radio said the survivors, 20 male passengers, four women and four crewmen, drifted at sea for more than 24 hours wearing their lifejackets, reaching Mulanay township in eastern Quezon province late Sunday. Coast guard chief Vice Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo announced early Monday that they had been found, raising the total number of survivors to 38. All were discovered after making it to land.

Tamayo said rescuers may have to bore a hole in the ship to allow divers access to area where many aboard the ferry were believed to have been trapped.

Coast guard frogmen who managed to get to the stricken ship got no response when they rapped on the hull with metal instruments, then had to give up late Sunday due to the strong waves. The ship carried more than 740 passengers and crew.

“They’re scouring the area. They’re studying the direction of the waves to determine where survivors may have drifted,” coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Arman Balilo said.

Rescuers hoped to get inside with U.S. assistance requested by the Philippine Red Cross. Typhoon Fengshen has killed at least 163 people across the sprawling archipelago, setting off landslides and floods, and knocking out electricity.

Six bodies, including those of a man and woman who had bound themselves together, have washed ashore, along with children’s slippers and life jackets.

About two dozen relatives went to the Manila office of ferry owner Sulpicio Lines. Some wept as they waited for news.

“I’m very worried. I need to know what happened to my family,” said Felino Farionin, his voice cracking. His wife, son and four in-laws were on the ferry, which was going from Manila to Cebu.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo talked to officials in a teleconference aired live on nationwide radio Sunday, scolding coast guard officials for allowing the ferry to leave Manila late Friday despite the bad weather.

Reynato Lanoria, a janitor on the ship, estimated about 100 people could have survived, “but the others were trapped inside.”

“I think they are all dead by now,” he told DZMM radio after making it to shore by jumping in the water and reaching a life raft.

Lanoria said he was on the top deck when a crew member ordered people to put on life vests around 11:30 a.m. Saturday. About 30 minutes later, the ship began tilting so fast that elderly people and children fell on the rain-slickened deck.

Passenger Jesus Gica also worried that many people were trapped below when the ship listed.

“There were many of us who jumped overboard, but we were separated because of the big waves,” he said. “The others were also able to board the life rafts, but it was useless because the strong winds flipped them over.”

The ferry initially ran aground a few miles off central Sibuyan island Saturday, then capsized, said Mayor Nanette Tansingco of Sibuyan’s San Fernando. With the upturned ferry visible from her town, she appealed for food, medicine and embalming fluid.

The nearly 24,000-ton ferry — with 626 passengers and 121 crew members on board — was “dead in the water” after its engine failed around noon Saturday, Tamayo said.

The storm stymied attempts to reach the ship and kept aircraft at bay on Saturday before shifting course Sunday to the northwest and battered Manila at dawn. Major streets were flooded, and numerous traffic lights were out.

In the central province of Iloilo, Gov. Neil Tupaz said 59 people drowned, with another 40 missing.

“Almost all the towns are covered by water. It’s like an ocean,” Tupaz said.

Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday he was praying for the victims of the ferry disaster, particularly the large number of children aboard. The Philippines is predominantly Catholic.

The typhoon-prone Philippines was the site of the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster when the ferry MV Dona Paz sank in 1987, killing more than 4,341 people.

___

Associated Press writers Jim Gomez and Oliver Teves contributed to this report.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/philippines_typhoon

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