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Hundreds missing after ships crash in Philippines

CEBU, Philippines — Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday to retrieve the bodies of more than 200 people missing from an overnight collision with a cargo vessel near the central Philippine port of Cebu that sent passengers jumping into the ocean and leaving many others trapped. At least 28 were confirmed dead and hundreds rescued.

The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas, which was approaching the port late Friday, ordered the ship abandoned when it began listing and then sank just minutes after colliding with the MV Sulpicio Express, coast guard deputy chief Rear Admiral Luis Tuason said.

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The ferry carried 752 passengers, including children and infants, and 118 crew. The number is higher than the 841 earlier reported by ferry owner 2Go, Tuason said.

He said that 213 are still missing, some of them possibly trapped inside the vessel that sank in waters about 100 feet deep off Talisay city in Cebu province, about 350 miles south of Manila.

Twenty-eight people, including children, were confirmed dead and 629 passengers and crew had been rescued.

Tuason said that navy divers recovered at least four more bodies from the underwater wreck early Saturday. Reporters at the site, about 1¼ miles from the shore, saw the bodies coated with fuel and oil that spilled from the ferry.

‘‘There could be more bodies there, but there were ropes inside that our divers could get entangled in,’’ Tuason said.

He said the coast guard will send more divers with deep-water equipment to help retrieve bodies.

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