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Retrieval of bodies trapped in M/V St. Thomas Aquinas I to start Monday - Navy

Navy divers and Red Cross volunteers by the site where M/V St. Thomas Aquinas I sank. ERIK DE CASTRO/Reuters

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA -- Naval Forces Central operations officer Lt. Commander Noel Escalona on Sunday said that retrieval operations for the bodies of passengers and crewmen trapped and drowned at the wreck of the ill-fated M/V St. Thomas Aquinas I will start Monday.

This will be done once the installation of marker buoys are completed within the day.

He declined to give specifics on how many bodies are inside the sunken ship but said Navy divers have seen some but were unable to recover the bodies due to difficulties in getting to the location.

Escalona also described the diving operations for the M/V St. Thomas Aquinas I as "dangerous" as the wreck lies between 100 to 120 feet and diving at this depth requires special training and breathing apparatus.

He added that the Philippine Navy (PN) has assigned four technical divers from the Naval Special Operations Group to the them and they are now being assisted by two members from Police Regional Office-7 and another two South Korean divers.

Around 85 people are still missing as of posting time

Death toll for the sea mishap has climbed to 34 with the recovery by Navy divers of two cadavers in the wreck before 10 a.m on Sunday.

The M/V St. Thomas Aquinas I was passing through a narrow strait in the port of Cebu when it collided with a cargo ship Friday night.

The former transporting was more than 800 people, while the M/V Sulpicio Express 7, which did not sink, had 36 crew members on board. 

 

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