38 Philippines ferry survivors reach shore

  Thirty-eight wave-battered survivors from a capsized ferry made it to shore but hundreds more were feared dead after a powerful typhoon cut a violent path through the Philippines, triggering desperate rescue efforts on Monday.

The death toll in flood-swollen communities rose to 163,police said, but most of the 747 passengers and crew of the ferry that ran aground then tipped over in stormy seas Saturday were still unaccounted for.

The 23,824-ton Princess of Stars was travelling from Manila to Cebu when it ran aground a few kilometres off central Sibuyan island then capsized, said Mayor Nanette Tansingco of Sibuyan’s San Fernando.

Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, the coast guard commander, said rescuers may have to bore a hole on the ship to allow access for divers.

Tamayo said 28 more survivors were found in Mulanay township in eastern Quezon province late on Sunday, about 130 kilometres from Sibuyan. Ten others struggled to shore earlier.

Officials were checking reports that a large number of survivors might have reached one nearby island, coast guard spokesman Cmdr Antonio Cuasito said.

Survivor Reynato Lanoria, a janitor on the ship, estimated about 100 people could have escaped the vessel, but thought the others were trapped inside.

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