Missing in Philippine ferry disaster down to 85

Life rafts from the sunken ferry St. Thomas Aquinas float in front of a cargo ship on August 17, 2013

MANILA - The number of people missing from a Philippine ferry disaster dropped from 170 to 85 Sunday, authorities said, with the lower figure due to tallying issues rather than new rescues.

The Philippine Coast Guard said that, as of 10:00 am (0200 GMT), the death toll from the sunken St Thomas Aquinas ferry stood at 34, with 85 others missing, the coastguard said.

The number of missing was cut from 170 after all those involved in the search reconciled their figures, and not because of late rescues, said Neil Sanchez, regional disaster management office head in the central city of Cebu.

More than 700 people had been rescued, according to the coastguard.

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

The Thomas Aquinas was carrying more than 800 people, while the Sulpicio Express 7, which did not sink, had 36 crew members.

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