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7 dead, 13 missing as rains hit Philippines June 13,2012   |  Source: AP

Big waves smashed a passenger boat into rocky outcrops and sunk the vessel in stormy weather in the southwestern Philippines, killing at least five people while 54 others were rescued, officials said Wednesday.

The MV Josille 2 sank near before midnight Tuesday near an island off the resort town of El Nido in Palawan Island, said coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo.

One of the passengers managed to contact the coast guard, sparking a search that also involved the Philippine navy and local fishermen. Rescuers plucked the bodies of three women and two men at sea, officials said.

Navy Commodore Alexander Lopez said authorities were not sure how many people were on board the boat because the dead and rescued have already exceeded the manifest count of 46.

Navy, coast guard and fishing boats would continue a search in the rough waters, but strong winds prevented military planes from participating, Lopez said.

Many of the rescued passengers have returned to Liminangcong village in Palawan's Taytay town, where the Manila-bound boat originated, he said.

The onset of the typhoon season brought heavy rains, flash floods and strong waves in southern Mindanao region, where 75 fishermen and villagers were rescued while 13 others are still unaccounted for, regional


© 2012 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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