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Seven crew rescued, four dead in Philippine ship grounding

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A satellite image shows Typhoon Surigae off the eastern coast of the Philippines on Tuesday. RAMMB/CIRA/AFP

Seven crew rescued, four dead in Philippine ship grounding

Seven members of a crew forced to abandon their cargo ship after it ran aground during a typhoon in the Philippines have been rescued and the bodies of four others found, authorities said on April 21.

Search teams were still looking for nine crew members two days after the Cebu Great Ocean vessel hit the shore at Malimono town on the southern island of Mindanao.

The survivors were taken to hospital for treatment and were in a stable condition, local disaster officer Aladdin Sumampong said.

"I asked them what happened since the ship just ran aground … but they said the order of the captain was to abandon the ship because it will capsize soon due to big waves," Sumampong told AFP.

The Philippine-registered vessel – laden with nickel ore and carrying 2,000 litres of diesel fuel – was still afloat, Sumampong said.

Two of the survivors were found on a beach with the bodies of two colleagues they had carried while swimming to shore, he said.

Photos shared by a government disaster office showed a makeshift floating device made out of life rings and water containers washed up on the beach where some of the bodies were found.

At least three people have died in the central and southern Philippines as Typhoon Surigae skirts the country, authorities said, forcing tens of thousands to seek shelter from flooding and strong winds.

The slow-moving Surigae is packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 165km/h near its centre, about 345km off the northern province of Cagayan.

It is not expected to make landfall.

The Philippines is hit by an average of 20 typhoons or storms every year, a dangerous and disruptive part of life in the country.

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