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Nine dead, dozens missing

world Updated: Sep 07, 2009 02:28 IST

Nine people were confirmed dead and dozens remained missing after a ferry carrying nearly 1,000 passengers sank in darkness off the southern Philippines on Sunday, officials said.

In the latest tragedy to hit the Philippines' notoriously dangerous maritime industry, survivors reported mass panic as the Superferry 9 began listing sharply well before dawn.

Zamboanga coast guard chief Commodore Rudy Isorena said the death toll might rise to 12 if reports of more fishing boats bringing in dead bodies proved accurate.

Civil defence executive officer Glen Rabonza said in Manila that 931 people had been confirmed rescued so far from the 964 passengers and crew on the ship's updated manifest.

However Isorena said it was too early to say exactly how many were still missing due to the possibility that the lists of survivors were inaccurate.

"We're still consolidating the names and trying to screen them. There might be double-entries," he said.