Glenn Rabonza, executive officer of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), said Sunday evening that search is still on for the 28 missing from the capsized Super ferry 9 that carried 964 people on board.
This photo released by The Philippine Navy shows passengers dotting the port side of the ill-fated SuperFerry 9 as navy ships move closer to rescue at the high seas of Baturampon Point in the coast off Zamboanga in southern Philippines, Sept. 6, 2009. The Superferry 9, a passenger ferry ship carrying nearly 1,000 people, capsized in the high seas off the southern Philippines on Sunday, leaving at least three people dead and 88 others missing, the Philippine National Disaster Coordinating Council said.
Rabonza said navy ships, coast guard teams, commercial and fishery vessels are operating in the accident site, about 9.5 nautical miles west of Siocon town of Zamboanga del Norte province, to account for the missing.
NDCC Chairman Gilbert Teodoro earlier told a press briefing that the ship's captain sent out a distress call at around 4 a.m. (0800 GMT) Sunday as the vessle was seriously tilting to its right-side.
Coast guard authorities said passengers were given life-jackets and told of the captain's order to abandon ship. Two cargo vessles stood by to collect the transferred passengers while the coast guard sent it rescue boats to the scene.
"I was wakened to the noise in the cabin. They asked us to jump off the ship to the life-boats," a survivor told Xinhua after she was ferried to the Zamboanga port late Sunday. "The life-boats are not enough and I think some people were panic and failed to escape."
Officials said the ship, which left southern city of General Santos Saturday and headed for central city of Iloilo, totally sank at around 10 a.m., 6 hours after it first sent the distress signal.