CEBU, Philippines

Divers look for survivors in wreck of sunken ferry

Divers combed through a sunken ferry Saturday in search of dozens of people missing after a collision with a cargo vessel near the central Philippine port of Cebu that sent passengers jumping into the ocean and left many others trapped. At least 31 were confirmed dead and hundreds rescued.

The captain of the ferry MV Thomas Aquinas ordered the ship abandoned when it began listing and then sank just minutes after collision late Friday with the MV Sulpicio Express Siete, coast guard deputy chief Rear Adm. Luis Tuason said.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya said the ferry carried 831 people, fewer than the numbers given earlier by the coast guard and ferry owner, 2Go. He said the death toll had risen to 31 with 629 rescued.

There were foreigners on board “but they are all OK,” except for a New Zealand citizen who was in a hospital, Abaya said.


Bodies found at three sites may have been massacred

Twenty-five people have been found dead, the apparent victims of at least three massacres in the troubled southwestern Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacan, according to government and media reports Saturday.

Regional officials have given only a few details about the bodies discovered in three locales. The slayings underscore the challenge facing President Enrique Pena Nieto as he tries to restore order in an increasingly lawless region just a few hours’ drive from the Mexican capital.

Both states, with sometimes rugged terrain, have a long history of banditry and drug cartel influence. But the chaos has mounted in swaths of the countryside in recent months, as self-defense militias have sprung up to fight drug cartel members. Some have accused the militias of having ties to rival drug gangs.

In some areas, local government officials have fled. In others, whole villages have been emptied of people who have moved to what they hope are safer environs.

Mexican military patrols are heavily deployed in both states.


Crews attempt night rescue of hunter mauled by bear

Crews equipped with night-vision goggles and flares staged a middle-of-the-night rescue to reach a hunter more than 36 hours after he was mauled by a brown bear in northern Alaska’s remote Brooks Range, the Alaska Air National Guard said.

The man was part of a group on a guided hunting trip about 30 miles north of Anaktuvuk Pass, a tiny Nunamiut Eskimo village in the Gates of the Arctic National Park. Initial rescue efforts by local search teams and by the Alaska State Troopers were turned back because of dense fog.

The 11th Air Force Rescue Coordination Center learned of the man’s plight Thursday, about 36 hours after the attack, and offered to help, the Guard said in a release.

The man had suffered severe blood loss and other injuries, but a medical professional who happened to be in a nearby hunting party reached him soon after the attack.

Officials credited the medical professional with saving the man’s life.


Firefighters battle blazes that threaten Idaho resorts

Fire crews on Saturday faced another challenging day battling a rapidly growing wildfire burning closer to two posh central Idaho resort communities, while other blazes in the West charred homes and devoured dry grass and brush.

Also in Idaho, the Beaver Creek Fire grew by 15 square miles late Friday and early Saturday, to 144 square miles.

Overnight, flames moved closer to homes and subdivisions in the mountains west and north of the communities of Hailey and Ketchum and the Sun Valley Resort.

So far, authorities have issued mandatory evacuations for 1,600 residences in the valley.

Heavy smoke in Idaho that grounded firefighting aircraft early Saturday cleared enough to allow helicopters and a huge DC-10 tanker to start making drops in the afternoon.

— From news service reports


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