Divers groping their way through the flooded hull of a sunken ferry in the Philippines say they have found only bodies, three days after the vessel flipped over during a typhoon.
Around 850 people were on board when the seven-storey Princess of the Stars suddenly tilted and capsized at the height of the powerful storm on Saturday.
Rescuers say some bodies had life vests, but witnesses say many victims hesitated to jump into the waves and were trapped inside the hull when it overturned. The ferry went down in less than half an hour off Sibuyan Island. Around 50 survivors have been found, including 28 picked up after being adrift for 24 hours.
The ferry company says the vessel was cleared to sail, but the government has ordered that all services be suspended pending a safety investigation. The relatives of the victims are angry and want to know why the ferry was allowed to leave with a typhoon approaching.
Meanwhile, it’s reported the Philippine government has announced plans to create a transport safety agency as a consequence of the tragedy. Officials say it will investigate disasters and be independent of the coastguard and maritime authorities.