2 Filipino singers among South Korea ferry survivors

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Two Filipino singers were among the close to 180 survivors of a ferry sinking last week in South Korea.

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Emmanuel Ganaden Manio and Frances Alexandra Cabras, who were on the ferry Sewol, on Friday said they were able to escape by finding their way to the ship’s bridge.

The bridge is the raised room from which the ship is commanded.

In a signed statement they submitted to Korean authorities, Manio and Cabras said the Sewol left Incheon for Jeju Island on April 15 at 9 p.m.

At 8:45 a.m. of April 16, as they were resting at their cabins, they felt the ship was listing.

When they looked out the window, they noticed that the vessel was trying to make a turn.

Manio and Cabras said that when objects inside their cabin began to fall, they decided it was time to leave.

Crawling along the passageways they reached the bridge where some of the crew were gathered. They all stayed for almost 30 to 40 minutes until rescuers arrived.

Manio and Cabras said they were brought to an evacuation area and given first aid there.

Manio was taken to Jindo Korean Hospital for treatment of wounds in his feet.

On April 16, he and Cabras were brought to the Coast Guard Station in Mokpo for further investigation and the filing of their sworn statements.

They are now under the care of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in South Korea.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz was gladdened by reports from Labor Attaché to South Korea Felicitas Bay that the two Filipinos were among those who survived the incident, the country’s worst maritime disaster in decades.

“We are happy that the two overseas Filipino performing artists who survived the accident are safe and in good condition, although, we are deeply saddened by what happened. We are offering our prayers and sympathy for those who lost their loved ones in this unfortunate event,” Baldoz said.

According to Bay, Manio and Cabras appeared before the POLO on April 18 with their promoter Seung-Pyo Hong of Music Bank Co. Ltd.

She said the two decided to be repatriated once the Korea Coast Guard finishes its investigation of the incident.

“They were assured of POLO’s continuing assistance and monitoring of the situation,” Bay added.

The Sewol was carrying 476 passengers, more than 300 of them high school students on a filed trip, and crew when it sank on April 16.

Authorities on Thursday said the number of recovered bodies had climbed to 169, with 133 people still missing.

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