Divers search for 24 missing from Philippine ferry
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 13:06
Manila: Deep-sea divers searched today for a sunken ferry and 24 missing people after it collided with another vessel and went down on Christmas Eve.

Search-and-rescue teams, backed by six government ships and three aircraft, have combed a 20-nautical-mile (37-kilometre) radius of Manila Bay since Thursday, but the ferry has yet to be located, the head of the Philippine coast guard said.

Three bodies and 46 survivors were recovered hours after MV Catalyn B, a wooden-hulled ferry with 73 people on board, collided with the 369-ton fishing vessel Anathalia before dawn Thursday near the mouth of Manila Bay. No additional bodies have been found since.

Coast guard officials say many passengers were sleeping and had no time to get life vests on and many of the missing may have been trapped inside.

The 79-ton ferry was travelling from the capital, Manila, to southwest Mindoro Island with passengers returning home for Christmas.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, the coast guard chief, told The Associated Press divers were looking for the vessel and hoped to conduct deep-sea searches for bodies once they locate the wreckage.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday ordered the owners of the ferry and fishing boat involved in the collision to suspend operations of all their vessels.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, December 26, 2009, 13:06

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