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Philippines ship crash death toll hits 55

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com
Philippines ship crash death toll hits 55

The death toll has risen to 55 and 65 people remain missing after a ferry sank after colliding with a cargo ship in the southern Philippines Friday.

Divers suspended their search and rescue efforts Monday due to bad weather, but another team was expected to join in the operation within the day.

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The Philippine Coast Guard said 750 people had been rescued.

The MV St. Thomas Aquinas was headed from Butuan City when it struck the cargo ship Sulpicio in the Mactan Channel around 9 p.m. Friday, leaving a gaping hole in the hull of the cargo vessel. It was able to send a distress call out before it sunk.

One of the worst maritime disasters in history occurred under similar circumstances, when the ferry Dona Paz and an oil tanker collided in the Tablas Strait in the Philippines. Between 1,700 and 4,000 people were killed, a number that was unverifiable due to the suspicion that the Dona Paz was substantially overcrowded.

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