Philippines inquiry opens as 800 believed dead in ferry disaster
It looks like 800 people were killed by the ferry disaster in the Philppinnes, and now the government is opening an investigation into the incident.
Philippine investigators opened an inquiry Wednesday into a ferry disaster believed to have killed 800 as rescuers ended slim hopes of finding survivors in the stricken vessel.
More than 100 US and Filipino divers combed the wreckage of the 24,000-tonne Princess of the Stars, whose upturned bow remained jutting above waters off the the central island of Sibuyan after it capsized in a typhoon on Saturday.
"There are no signs of life," navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo said. Rescuers said anyone who had managed to find air pockets in the ship would have suffocated by now.
Only 57 people survived the tragedy, according to civil defence figures, out of more than 850 people on board, making it one of the worst maritime disasters in the Southeast Asian country's history.
President Gloria Arroyo in a statement from Washington, where she is on an official visit, said: "We are holding the ferry company accountable."