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2 dead, 15 missing after ferry capsizes in Philippines

From Kathy Quiano and Samuel Santamaria, CNN
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 0739 GMT (1539 HKT)
Burias Island
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A helicopter and reconnaissance plane have joined rescue efforts
  • Fourty-two people have so far been saved, authorities say
  • The ferry had been transporting passengers and vehicles between islands

(CNN) -- Two people have died and 15 others are missing after a ferry capsized early Friday as it traveled between islands in the central Philippines, authorities said.

A rescue effort involving the Philippine Coast Guard and Navy, as well as local fisherman, has so far managed to save 42 people, said Bernardo Alejandro, director of the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol, the region where the ship went down.

A helicopter and reconnaissance plane have been deployed in the search for survivors in the water, he said.

The ferry, the MV Lady of Mt. Carmel, ran into trouble off the coast of Burias Island in the province of Masbate. It had been transporting passengers and vehicles overnight from Pio Duran, in Albay province, to Aroroy in Masbate.

According to the reports received so far by authorities, there were 35 passengers and 22 crew members on the ship's manifest.

The national disaster agency in Manila is still trying to determine if there were any other passengers on the ship who weren't included on the manifest, said Maj. Reynaldo Balido, a spokesman for the agency. The ferry was also carrying two buses and a six-wheeler truck.

Stormy weather, poor maintenance and lax safety standards make maritime accidents a regular occurrence in the Philippines, which is made up of more than 7,000 islands.

The captain of the ferry, who survived, has reported that the weather was fine at the time of the accident, according to authorities. He said, though, that the vessel had a problem of balance before it capsized.

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