Navy scours sea for ferry passengers

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Coast Guard personnel on board a ship use binoculars in their search for passengers of the ferry that sank off Burias Island on Friday. Of the 52 people on board, two passengers died and seven others are missing. COAST GUARD PHOTO

NAVY personnel continued their desperate search for the seven passengers of the MV Lady of Mount Carmel that sank off Burias Island in Masbate province on Friday.

Lt. Commodore Gregory Fabic, Navy spokesman, said bad weather did not stop several teams from searching for the missing passengers and the vessel. Navy teams combed the area where the Mt. Carmel sank but divers had a difficult time in locating the ship.

Mount Carmel was carrying 57 people when it sank at about 6 a.m. on Friday.

Hopes of finding the remaining missing passengers were fading fast as strong currents thwarted attempts by the navy divers to reach the seabed, Fabic told reporters.

“They still have not (located) the ferry and they were not able to go too deep,” Fabic said.

He said there was a slim chance that the seven missing had drifted away to nearby islands.

However, there was also a probability that they were trapped inside the sunken vessel.

Fabic said navy and coastguard vessels would continue scouring areas around Burias island with the help of local fishermen until they were given orders to terminate the search.

Commodore Armand Balilio, Philippine Coast Guard spokesman, earlier said the PCG will form a Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) to investigate the sinking.

With a report from AFP

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