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17 dead after Philippines ferry collides with cargo vessel

17 dead after Philippines ferry collides with cargo vessel
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A ferry with nearly 700 people on board has sunk in the Philippines after colliding with a cargo vessel.

It happened around 2km from the shore near the central Philippine port of Cebu at around 9 pm (1300 GMT) on Friday.

The coastguard said 17 people were confirmed dead, including children, and more than 500 had been rescued several hours after the collision.

Local fishing boats helped the coastguard and naval vessels in the rescue effort, which is continuing.

The ferry had come from Nasipit in Agusan del Sur province in the southern Philippines on a daylong journey

Witnesses say the 40-year-old ferry, St Thomas of Aquinas, sank within 10 minutes of the collision. Many of the passengers were asleep and others struggled to find their way in the dark. Survivors say hundreds of passengers jumped into the sea as the ship started to sink.

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