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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 July 2007, 05:24 GMT 06:24 UK
Boat sinks in central Philippines
A passenger ferry has sunk in central Philippines, leaving at least eight people dead and an unknown number missing, officials say.

The MV Blue Water Princess sank off the town of San Francisco, about 220km (140 miles) south-east of Manila.

At least 106 passengers were rescued, officials say. It is believed the ferry had as many as 256 people on board. The cause of the sinking is not clear.

A naval ship had been sent to search for more survivors.

Two helicopters - despatched to the disaster area earlier - had to return because of the bad weather.

The ferry sank before dawn on Thursday, coastguard spokesman Armando Balilo was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

The vessel was heading to the island of Masbate, after leaving the port of Lucena.

The country has a history of shipping disasters.

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