4 more bodies recovered inside sunken MV St. Thomas Aquinas, death toll reaches 28

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MANILA, 17Aug2013 – The Philippine Coast Guard on Saturday said four more bodies were recovered at the sea mishap site in Cebu which brings to 28 the number of fatalities in the tragic incident.

Rear Admiral Luis Tuason Jr., PCG vice commandant for operations, said the four bodies were recovered by divers inside the ill-fated MV St. Thomas Aquinas.

He said divers are having a hard time searching the sunken ship due to the many ropes which block their way.

The passenger ship now seats at 33 meters or 108 feet under the sea.

“Nahihirapan ang mga divers kasi sala-salabat daw ang tali sa loob at baka sumabit sila at sila naman ang ma-aksidente. Pinag-aaralan pa nila kung ano ang paraan para ma-search mabuti ang loob ng barko ,” Tuason said.

He said four technical divers which are invited by the PCG are on the way to the site to help divers in the search. Technical divers carry sophisticated equipment and can last underwater for about 20 to 25 minutes, unlike the other divers who can only last underwater for 5 to 10 minutes.

MV St Thomas Aquinas sank at around 10 pm Friday night after colliding with Sulpicio Express 7, a cargo vessel.

Tuason said St Thomas Aquinas had 118 crew, 752 passengers which include 666 adults, 28 children, and 58 infants. Sulpicio Express 7 had no reported casualties. (PNA)

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