Typhoon’s toll hits 7 in Philippines as missing shipmates found dead

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Huge waves brought by super typhoon Soudelor hit a rider on the coast in Wenling City, east China's Zhejiang Province, Aug. 8, 2015. (Xinhua/Zhou Xuejun)
(Xinhua/Zhou Xuejun)

Four crew members of a cargo ship that ran aground amid a typhoon in the Philippines were found dead on Wednesday, bringing the death toll from the cyclone to seven, officials said.

Nine members of the ill-fated cargo ship Cebu Great Ocean were still missing, while seven had been rescued, according to coastguard spokesperson Armand Balilo.

Search and rescue operations will not stop until all crew members are accounted for, Balilo said.

The vessel, which was carrying nickel ore, ran around on Monday in the southern province of Surigao del Norte, amid rough seas caused by Typhoon Surigae.

The crew abandoned ship and were in a life raft, but contact was lost on Tuesday, the coastguard said.

The national disaster agency said three others also died in accidents caused by Surigae, which has maintained its strength as it moved slowly away from the Philippines.

The victims – a 47-year-old woman, a 79-year-old man and 19-year-old girl – all died after being hit by falling trees, the agency said.

Surigae was packing maximum sustained winds of 175 kilometres per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 215 km/h as it moved north-west at 10 km/h, the weather bureau said.

It was forecast to exit the Philippines by late Saturday, or Sunday at the latest, the bureau said.

The typhoon was expected to weaken as it moved away from the Philippines, but will continue to cause rough seas, making it risky for sea travel, the weather bureau said.

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