MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Rescuers on Friday were winding down the search for survivors and bodies from a ferry that capsized shortly after departing from a central Philippine port, leaving 45 people dead.
Coast guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said all 187 passengers and crew members of the M/B Kim Nirvana have been accounted for, a day after the vessel overturned in choppy waters off Ormoc city. He said 142 survived and there were no more reports of anyone missing.
Balilo said they were waiting for the regional coast guard commander to declare an end to the search and rescue operation.
A floating crane pulled the 36-ton wooden motorized outrigger close to the city port, Ormoc rescue officer Ciriaco Tolibao said. The ferry will then be lifted so authorities can more closely examine it.
Balilo said the wooden outrigger was maneuvering out of the port on its way to Pilar township on one of the Camotes Islands, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) to the south, when it was lashed by strong waves and capsized.
He said the captain and some of the crew were rescued and were in custody pending an investigation.
“Among the things we will look into is if there was a faulty maneuver, the stability of the vessel, and of course the weather,” he added.
Coast guard officials and survivors said it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the 36-ton ferry, which was carrying a heavy cargo of construction materials and bags of rice, to overturn.
Regional coast guard commander Capt. Pedro Tinampay told DZBB radio in Manila that the movement of cargo inside the ferry may have contributed to the boat having listed.
Ormoc, a regional economic and transportation hub of about 200,000 people, is located in a disaster-prone eastern region that is regularly hit by some of the approximately 20 tropical storms and typhoons that blow in from the Pacific each year.
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