A ferry accident in the Philippines yesterday might result in the grim total of about 200 deaths. So far, 32 bodies have been found, but another 170 are missing, reports AFP. Authorities fear most were trapped inside the ferry after it collided with a cargo ship near the busy port city of Cebu and sank within 10 minutes. As bad as the numbers are, they could be much worse: The ferry had 831 passengers and crew on board, most of whom were rescued from the water.
"There is a blind spot there, and each ship passing through needs to give way in a portion of that narrow strip," says a government official. The ferry was entering the port and the cargo ship leaving, and the official speculates that one of the vessels ventured into the wrong shipping lane. Philippines has an awful track record on maritime safety, and Reuters reports that it's not unusual for dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people to die each year in ferry accidents. They're a common mode of travel from island to island, and the one involved in yesterday's accident had been in operation for 40 years.