Philippine Divers Find Bodies, No Life in Sunken FerryBy VOA News
24 June 2008

Philippine Coast Guard rescue personnel approach the bow of the sunken ferry MV Princess of the Stars off the coast of central Sibuyan island, 23 Jun 2008Philippine officials say divers have entered the hull of a passenger ferry that capsized with more than 800 people on board, but saw only bodies floating inside.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo would not speculate on whether anyone might still be alive in the overturned ferry and did not say how many bodies were seen.

The Philippine coast guard says that so far 36 people from the ferry have turned up alive.

On Monday, the United States promised to help the Philippines cope with the ferry accident, as the Southeast Asian country's president began a visit to Washington.

Washington said it is providing $100,000 and a U.S. Naval vessel to help with search and rescue efforts.

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is scheduled to meet Tuesday with U.S. President George Bush.

The few survivors from the ship, the Princess of Stars, made it ashore Sunday after drifting more than 24 hours in a rubber boat and in life jackets.

Meanwhile, Philippine transport authorities say they have banned the ship's owner, Sulpicio Lines, from operating while they conduct an investigation.

Philippine Red Cross officials say Typhoon Fengshen also killed at least 229 people in the central and southern Philippines. That figure does not include the missing passengers and crew on the ferry.

The storm is moving north over the South China Sea at about 20 kilometers per hour towards southern China.

voa news