Philippines searches for missing sailing boat, five Americans

01/21/2011 - Manila - Philippine authorities Friday launched a search and rescue operation for a missing sailing boat with five Americans aboard, the coast guard chief said.

Coast guard commander Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said the 11.5-metre boat, The Pineapple, left Guam on January 6 and was headed for the central Philippine city of Cebu when it went missing.

Tamayo said The Pineapple was supposed to arrive in Cebu City on January 16, but relatives of the passengers reported to US authorities in Guam that they failed to contact them.

'The relatives are worried because there is no communication with the sailboat,' he said. 'They passengers were expected to arrive in Cebu on January 16, so it's long overdue.'

'The US coast guard also conducted search and rescue within their territory and also coordinated with us and asked us to initiate rescue for the sailboat,' he said.

Tamayo said the search and rescue operation was concentrated off the Philippines' eastern coast, which was battered by heavy rains and strong waves for the past three weeks.

At least 62 were killed and 30 others missing in floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains in the eastern and southern Philippine provinces. (monsterandcritics.com)

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