Forty Die In Philippines Ferry Accident

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Another ferry disaster :1 (235): A passenger ferry in the Philippines has gone down in stormy seas with the loss of at least 40 lives, according to local officials. A local army commander, Maj Gen Jeffrey Sodusta, said that 76 people were rescued and brought to hospital. Thirty-nine bodies were recovered, including 11 children. "We brought the dead to the plaza," said Arturo Estopare, police chief of Dimasalang town, about three miles from where the ferry went down. The bodies were lined up and covered, with distraught relatives checking for missing loved ones. Four people are still missing, but ferries in the Philippines are frequently overcrowded with passengers who are not listed. Roy Almine, a policeman involved in the rescue, said huge waves and strong winds hit the boat as it sailed between central Masbate island for nearby Sorsogon province. "There was some kind of whirlwind," said Reuben Sindac, the police chief in Masbate. "There was no rain, no typhoon; the waters were calm when it happened. "The ferry was not passenger-friendly. There were high railings and tarpaulin on the side so when the vessel overturned, these may have helped to trap the passengers." Ferry accidents are common in the Philippines where safety standards are low. In June the Princess of Stars was caught in a typhoon and went down at the cost of up to 800 lives.

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