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Experienced seaman among 85 still missing in Cebu ship sinking: Dead 38

Experienced seaman among missing in Cebu ship sinking, wife survives
By Danilo Adorador III Inquirer Mindanao
4:26 pm | Sunday, August 18th, 2013
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/468267/experienced-seaman-among-missing-in-...

SURIGAO CITY, Philippines – As an experienced seaman, Reynaldo Galve, 36, was expected to know the drill when sea accidents happened. That his wife, who is being treated for head wounds in a hospital in Cebu, survived while he remains missing is a mystery to Galve’s relatives.

“We’re a little confused because it was he who instructed his wife to jump first moments before the sinking of the ship…and now he’s missing,” said Cherry Galve, Reynaldo’s sister.

Reynaldo’s wife, 27-year-old Aida, fell short on her jump and bumped her head midway into the fall, Cherry said, based on Aida’s accounts. Due to the impact of the fall, Aida had no recollection of her husband following her into the water.

The Galves are two of the 279 passengers from the two Surigao provinces aboard the MV St. Thomas Aquinas, a Manila-bound passenger ship of 2GO Travel, which sailed from Nasipit in Agusan del Norte and Surigao City. It collided with Davao-bound M/V Sulpicio Express Siete around 9 p.m. Friday, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Death toll from Cebu ship collision rises to 38
By Xinhua (philstar.com) | Updated August 18, 2013 - 8:05pm
http://www.philstar.com/breaking-news/2013/08/18/1105781/death-toll-cebu...

MANILA, Philippines -- The death toll of the collision between a passenger ship and a cargo vessel off Talisay in central Philippine province of Cebu climbed to 38 as more bodies were retrieved on Sunday, the military said.

"The death toll is now 38," said Winiel Azcuna, chief of the Philippine Coast Guard Station in Cebu.

Rescue operation suspended Saturday due to strong winds and high waves, but resumed Sunday morning. However, the oil spill has hampered rescue because it affects visibility, skin of the divers, Azcuna said.

Roy Deveraturda, commander of the military's Central Command, said Sunday that full-scale underwater search for the missing trapped in the sunken passenger ship MV St. Thomas Aquinas is to start on Monday.

Technical divers conducted a survey of the ship on Sunday in an attempt to establish a "lifeline" for the underwater operation, he added.

"Hopefully, they (divers) can place markers, pinpoint entry and exit points. Then the full retrieval will happen probably tomorrow," he said.
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Deveraturda said a total of 870 passengers and crew were on board the ill-fated passenger ship when it collided with MV Sulpicio Express 7 and subsequently sank near Lauis Ledge in Talisay City. Of the number, 751 were listed as survivors and 82 others are still missing.

The passenger vessel collided with the cargo vessel when it was about to enter the sea port in Talisay City shortly after 9 p.m. Friday.

Relatives of another passenger, 61-year old Annabelle Apollo, remain hopeful that the latter is still alive, although her name is not in the list of survivors provided by the local 2Go office.

Apollo, who is from Nonoc Island in Surigao City, was headed for Manila to visit her eldest son whom she has not seen for nine years, said daughter Charres Apollo.

Charres said they took comfort from the fact that their neighbor, 42-year-old Emilda Dio, who was traveling with her mother, survived the ordeal and has been receiving treatment at a Cebu City hospital.

“We’re islanders so she’s used to traveling the sea. We’re hopeful she will comeback to us anytime soon,” Charres said.

Likewise, the Galvezes are optimistic Reynaldo was just out helping survivors and was not among those trapped when the boat sunk.

“He is a trained sailor and I believe that when he saw what happened to his wife when she jumped, he chose another route to get to her. In the process, it was likely he met some children along the way and helped secure these young ones to safety,” said Cherry, the sister.

(UPDATE) 85 remain missing from ship collision
(philstar.com) | Updated August 18, 2013 - 5:00pm
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/08/18/1105071/update-85-remain-mi...

TALISAY, Philippines (Xinhua) - The search operation resumed this morning as 85 were still missing following a two-ship collision in Cebu, a local official said.

The death toll of the mishap rose to 34 after two bodies were retrieved Sunday morning. A total of 751 people on board the ill-fated ferry M/V St. Thomas Aquinas have been rescued so far, Hilario Davide III, governor of Cebu province, told a news briefing in Talisay city.

Rescue operation, which halted Saturday evening due to high waves, resumed at 8 a.m. today. "Hopefully more missing can be found alive," Davide said.

The M/V Sulpicio Express 7 cargo vessel bound for Davao City collided with the passenger vessel bound for Cebu from Butuan off the coast of Talisay in Cebu Friday night. Both ships has 870 passengers and crew.

Three helicopters dispatched by the coast guard and navy were hovering over the coastline to search for the survivors. Divers sent from Manila have arrived to assist the rescue operations.

Commodore William Melad, Philippine Coast Guard commander in Central Visayas, said technical divers had gone into the sunken passenger ship to search for the missing inside. But oil leak at the scene of the incident hampered the searching effort, and even posed threat to the divers.
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Emmanuel Crucio, a mentor of the marine institute attached to Cebu University, said that the pace of rescue operation was slow due to poor equipment though the divers were professional.