Pope Francis: deeply sadened by loss of life in a boat accident in the Philippines
Pope Francis has sent a telegramme of condolence to the Archbishop of Cebu in the Philipines, Mons. Jose S. Palma, following a boat accident in which more than 200 people are feared dead. Signed by the secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the message read; His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life resulting from the ferry boat accident off the central port of Cebu. He assures all affected of his closeness in prayer and commends the victims to the loving mercy of Almighty God. The Holy Father invokes divine strength and comfort upon the grieving families, the injured and those involved in the rescue efforts. The Philippine ferry sank after colliding with a container ship killing at least 24 people and leaving more than 200 missing. Divers were searching for bodies in the ferry, which sank on Friday minutes after the collision just outside the port of Cebu in the central Philippines. Some 629 people had been rescued, many by fishing boats, with 217 still missing. Alistair Wanklyn has more details. The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7000 islands where the most common means of transport is the boat, and there have been a number of catastrophic incidents usually resulting from their bad state or overcrowding. The 1987 Manila accident was the most traumatic with 4300 people dead.