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87 more bodies found at sea by Coast Guard

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Gin used to deodorize corpses

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 17:29:00 06/25/2008

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has spotted 87 bodies, believed to be those of passengers and crew of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars, adrift at sea or washed ashore in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Quezon, and Masbate on Wednesday.

It was not immediately clear if the Coast Guard count included the estimated 50 bodies the Navy said search teams had reached and begun retrieving from the sea west of Burias Island, Masbate, where several fatalities from the sinking of the MV Princess of the Stars had washed up earlier.

The majority of the remains reported by the Coast Guard were found in Pasacao town in Camarines Sur province, Lieutenant Commander Rogelio Villanueva said during a news conference of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC).

The 87 have not been added to the official death toll from the ferry, which stands at 70, Villanueva said. There are 48 survivors thus far.

Divers also searched the upturned wreck of the ferry off Sibuyan Island in Romblon, hoping to recover at least 15 more bodies that were seen in the first class dining section, but there was no immediate word if these had been retrieved, Lieutenant Commander Rogelio Villanueva of the Philippine Coast Guard said.

A day before, divers retrieved three bodies from the wreck.

As more bodies were found, rescuers appealed for more body bags and chemicals, such as formalin and lime, to slow down decomposition and arrest the foul smell from the remains.

Navy rescue teams have resorted to using gin to deodorize the corpses, said Philippine Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo.

Arevalo said the big group of bodies was found some 17 nautical miles west of Burias by an American reconnaissance aircraft that had joined the search and which immediately notified local authorities.

The plane had also found three bodies on the shore of Palana Point on Burias earlier Wednesday, Arevalo said. These bodies were recovered by the same team now engaged in retrieving the 50 bodies.

Also on Wednesday, 13 bodies were recovered from shore in San Pascual, Masbate, said Colonel John Estoesta, chief of the Air Force Tactical Operations Group 4.

A day earlier, 19 bodies were recovered in San Pascual. These were buried amid fears the decomposing bodies could cause an outbreak of disease and also because of the foul smell, Estoesta said, quoting town Mayor Zacharina Lazaro.

In Pasacao town, Camarines Sur province, three bodies were recovered at around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

The bodies, which were brought to the Tablas Airport in Romblon, have been identified as Orlando Langaman Cueva, Felipe Omandac Jr., and Diane Rose Laborte, Captain Lea Santiago, spokesman of the Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command, said.

The NDCC is expected to give a wrap-up of the day’s search at a news conference at 6 p.m.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-06-25T13:45:22+00:00UTC06bUTCWed, 25 Jun 2008 13:45:22 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 pm06

Posted in Uncategorized

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