Medical personnel attend to survivors of the passenger ferry MV Princess of Stars after it capsized off Sibuyan island, central Philippines, at a hospital in Lucena city south of Manila June 23, 2008. Rescuers held little hope on Monday of finding some 800 people missing from the ferry, as divers prepared to drill into the ship's hull in the hope of finding survivors in air pockets.(Xinhua Photo)
The 23,800-ton ferry of the Sulpicio Lines, carrying 862 people on board, met rough weather at sea after it sailed off Manila en route to central city of Cebu on Saturday. The captain ordered passengers to abandon ship on Saturday noon and when rescuers came to the scene on Sunday afternoon, it had overturned and had only 1/15 of the hull above the water.
The authorities said earlier on Monday they were able to save and identify 34 survivors while they were checking the identities of another group of 25. The rest, the authorities said, remain missing.
Alaysa Caranoo holds a photo of her brother, who was on board the capsized ferry MV Princess of Stars, while waiting with relatives for the latest information outside the office of Sulpicio Lines in the port area of Manila June 23, 2008. Rescuers scoured the seas around the capsized ferry in the Philippines on Monday for more than 800 people missing after it sank two days ago, as the official death toll from Typhoon Fengshen rose to about 160.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza said on Monday helicopters were deployed to check the nearby areas for any lifeboats or survivors.
"The waves and wind must have been strong. We just hope we can recover more survivors," he said.
The Navy has sent two patrol gunboats, a patrol ship, two helicopters, and a Navy Islander plane to the site, as the USNS Stockham of the United States Navy, with search and rescue helicopters aboard, has been ordered to proceed to the Philippines from Japan to augment the rescue team.
(Xinhua News Agency June 24, 2008)