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    Another Philippine Ferry Disaster


    by NTDTelevision

    Philippines coastguard planes scour the waters looking for survivors.

    21 people are missing after a roll-on-roll-off ferry sank off Verde Island, south of the capital Manila.

    Relatives of the missing passengers and crew waited at Batangas pier for news of their loved ones.

    [Cely Apolinar, Missing Person’s Aunt]:
    "At this moment I don't know if my nephew and his driver are still alive. I'm really not sure."

    63 survivors were plucked from the sea by passing ships - their presence averting a bigger tragedy.

    For some help came too late.

    [Jonathan Umali, Survivor]:
    "I couldn't do anything to help my companion, Cecilia, and her daughter. All I could do was watch them drown."

    Survivors said the ferry began listing after taking in water from the bow ramp, and sank within minutes.

    14-year-old Eric Musni's mother and sister are missing.

    [Eric Musni, Survivor]:
    "It was midnight, and almost all the passengers were asleep. Then the ferry suddenly capsized. People were running everywhere, they didn't know what to do."

    It's the second ferry accident in less than a week.

    24 people are still missing after a ferry collided with a fishing boat in Manila Bay on Thursday.

    Ferries are an important means of transport in the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands.

    But accidents are common because of overcrowding, poor maintenance and tropical storms.