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. Sunken Philippine ferry carrying 862 people: company

This handout photo released by the Philippine Coast Guard hand on June 23, 2008 shows the hull of the upturned MV Princess of the Stars off the coast of Sibuyan island in Romblon province in the central Philippines. Philippine rescue teams battled furious seas and high winds Monday in a desperate hunt for more survivors of a ferry that sank in a typhoon with 862 people aboard. Only the tip of the bow of the Princess of the Stars remained above water after it tilted and quickly capsized on June 21, and navy frogmen have found no sign of life aboard the doomed vessel just off the central island of Sibuyan. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) June 23, 2008
More than 800 people were on board the ferry that sank in the Philippines, its owners said Monday, up from an original number of 747 passengers and crew.

The ferry was carrying 751 passengers and 111 crew when it went down in heavy seas in the central Philippines on Saturday, Sulpicio Lines vice president Sally Buaron said.

But checks were underway to determine if even more passengers, not included in the official manifest, were also on board, Buaron said.

Eighty one children were among the passengers officially listed, she said.

The vessel, which is licenced to carry 1,992 people, was battered by huge waves whipped up by Typhoon Fengshen which lashed the Philippines on Saturday.

It listed before finally tipping over and sinking off the coast of Sibuyan island. The typhoon has left 598 dead or missing elsewhere in the Philippines.

Rescuers said that 32 people have been rescued so far from the ill-fated ferry, one of them a crew member, Buaron said.

She said the ferry captain, Florenio Marino, had sent a distress call moments before he gave the order to abandon ship.

"We are at a loss as to what really happened," Buaron said, insisting that the ship, weighing 23,800 tons, was sea worthy and had never been in an accident in its 24-year history.

"I have been asking everybody (rescuers) if they were able to find the (ship) master."

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40 survivors washed ashore in typhoon-hit Philippines
Manila (AFP) June 23, 2008
At least 40 typhoon survivors made it to shore in the Philippines but not all were from a ferry that sunk with more than 850 onboard, a local official told a radio station on Monday.

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