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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Philippine Tragedy: MV Princess of the Stars Sunk

I was so shocked when I've heard the news in the Philippines about Typhoon Frank tore into the center of the country at the weekend, toppling the MV Princess of the Stars, with 865 passengers and crew on board, as well as a coal tanker and eight fishing vessels, and displaced hundreds of thousands. The overall death toll from the sixth typhoon to hit the Philippines this storm season could reach around 1,100, while the damage bill to homes, bridges and roads has been put at nearly 1 billion pesos. Inocencio Rosario said that they saw a lot of bodies below but there have decomposed already. They need to use weights on the bodies so they could pull them out of the holes of the ship and when they have taken them out, they will take off the weights so that the bodies would float to the surface. So far, 48 people are known to have survived the tragedy but hopes of finding more alive are dim. One survivor said there was a near stampede in the economy cabins when the captain ordered people to abandon ship. Passengers jostled one another to make it to the upper deck and many women and children were left stranded. Jesse Buot said that about 400 people were able to leave the ship, some in life rafts but most jumped to the water leaving their fate to God like him. About 50 bodies were found floating around 100 km they were from the ferry last Wednesday. The retrieval operation is precarious. The ferry's stern off the central island of Sibuyan is wedged on a rocky ledge and strong waves could cause it to slide down. Rescuers need body bags it’s running short of body bags and formaldehyde. Shipping tragedies are common in the Philippines because safety rules are poorly implemented and substandard vessels ply dangerous waters.
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