Divers will try to enter capsized ship off Philippines
Monday, June 23, 2008 4:11:14 PM
By PAUL ALEXANDER
Two teams of rescuers prepared Monday to dive into typhoon-roiled waters off the Philippines to find a way inside a capsized ferry in a desperate effort to locate some 800 people believed to be aboard.
If Tuesday's planned underwater missions fail, a tugboat will be on standby with gear to cut through the ferry's hull as a last resort -- a prospect complicated by a cargo of bunker oil that could leak and turn the human disaster into an environmental one.
Experts were studying the ferry's schematics in case they have to drill the access hole.
The divers, however, will get the first shot, coast guard chief Adm. Wilfredo Tamayo said "looking for open hatches or doors on the side of the ship, diving underneath, breaking cabin glass windows if we can break them or cut an opening."
"We'll do this at the earliest opportunity, weather permitting," Tamayo said.
On Sunday, divers heard no response when they hammered on the hull, but officials refused to give up.
"We're not ruling out that somebody there is still alive," Tamayo said. "You can never tell."
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