MANILA, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The death toll in the collision of a ferry and cargo ship off the Philippines rose to 52 Monday with more bodies brought from the sunken ferry, officials said.
Philippine navy divers led the search effort of the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas which sank last Friday night after a collision with the cargo ship, the Sulpicio Express Siete, in the Mactan Channel about two miles northwest of Cebu City, capital of Cebu province.
There were a total of 870 passengers and crew aboard the two vessels when the collision occurred.
CNN, quoting the Philippine Coast Guard, said the latest confirmed death toll stood at 52, while another 68 remained missing. The rest had been rescued.
On Monday, the divers managed to enter the compartments of the ferry and retrieve more bodies, the Philippines News Agency reported. Philippines navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic said another team of divers was expected to arrive later Monday to help with the search effort.
CNN reported the St. Thomas Aquinas was coming from nearby Butuan City and the Sulpicio was leaving Cebu for Davao on Mindanao Island. The report said before going down, the passenger ferry managed to send out a distress signal which was picked up by the Coast Guard.