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Pope prays for the victims of boat tragedy in Philippines



Vatican City, 17 August 2013: Pope Francis condoled the death of the victims of the boat tragedy occurred on Friday night in Cebu, Philippines.
‘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, stated a message addressed to Jose S. Palma, Archbishop of Cebu.
The message sent by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican’s Secretary of State said the Pontiff invokes divine strength and comfort upon the grieving families, the injured and those involved in the rescue efforts.

The St Thomas Aquinas ferry was carrying 870 passengers and crew when the accident occurred late on Friday night in a dangerous choke point near the port of Cebu, the Philippines' second biggest city, authorities said.

Coastguard and military vessels, as well as local fishermen in their own small boats hauled more than 600 people out of the water alive. But by early Saturday afternoon, 213 people were still unaccounted for and 28 bodies had been retrieved, according to the coastguard, which warned the death toll would inevitably rise.

"It did not take long, about 10 minutes, before the ferry sank," Rear Admiral Luis Tuason, vice commandant of the coastguard, said on DZBB radio. ..."The captain managed to declare abandon ship and they distributed life jackets but, because of the speed by which it went down, there is a big chance that there are people trapped inside."

The authorities are questioning the captains of the ships to shed light on the incident. In the Philippines, an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, the most common means of transport is the ferry and are known other catastrophic accidents, the most serious one in 1987 in Manila which killed 4300 people.
Source: VR Sedoc




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