Philippine typhoon death toll rises to 53

In some rare good news, three fishermen were plucked by passing colleagues from waters off the Bicol region, after Typhoon Conson destroyed their boat on Tuesday, an army statement quoted survivor Victor Bordeos as saying.

"Our boat capsized and (was) torn in half during the height of the storm," Bordeos said.
Eight other members of the crew are among 43 people still missing in the typhoon-prone waters southeast of Manila, regional army spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc said.
Air force helicopters and navy aircraft are combing the calming seas to find the missing, he added.

Conson struck the main island of Luzon including the capital Manila with surprising ferocity overnight Tuesday after state weather forecasters incorrectly predicted that the typhoon would hit further north.

The first typhoon to batter the country this year destroyed thousands of homes, sank or damaged 62 boats, uprooted trees that crushed people to death, snapped power lines and disrupted aviation.

It took utility firms more than two days to restore electricity to a near-paralysed capital.
The government's National Disaster Coordinating Council on Saturday raised the death toll to 53 from 39 as the coast guard and other rescuers found more bodies at sea at the mouth of Manila Bay and off Bicol.

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