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29 rescued from capsized boat

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By Calvin D. Cordova and Lesley Estil

SURVIVOR – Emergency responders in Mandaue City tend to a survivor in Tuesday’s boat sinking. (Juan Carlo de Vela)

SURVIVOR – Emergency responders in Mandaue City tend to a survivor in Tuesday’s boat sinking. (Juan Carlo de Vela)

Cebu City – Local authorities are attending to the survivors of the sinking of a motorboat off San Francisco town, Camotes Island, Cebu, Tuesday morning.

Raffy Luche of Cebu’s Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said there were 29 survivors in the sea mishap, seven of them are children, while three are infants.

The youngest survivor was a three-month-old girl, the oldest a 77-year-old woman, said Luche.

The MB Habagat Romeo was sailing to Tulang, San Francisco, in Camotes from Carmen town when it was capsized by huge waves.

Killed were a two-year-old girl and another woman between 30 and 40 years old.

Rescuers were still looking as of 3 p.m. Wednesday for three missing passengers. They were identified as Carel Palomar, 9; Andie de Leon, 2; and Kiven Gonzaga, 4.

Luche said three of the survivors were brought to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City after they sustained traumatic injuries.

“The province’s social welfare office will shoulder their hospital expenses while we will also facilitate the survivors’ return to Camotes,” said Luche.

The survivors arrived in Mandaue City aboard the MV Lite Ferry Tuesday night. They underwent pyscho-debriefing shortly after they arrived, Luche said.

The passengers came from Carmen town in Camotes where they attended a fiesta.

The boat captain, 51-year-old Romar Hermosilla, was one of the survivors.

“The boat sank off Tulang Point. It’s an open sea area that’s why big waves are normal there even if there is no gale warning,” Luche said.

The boat capsized around 9 a.m. and it was only around 3 p.m. when the passengers were rescued by a passing cargo vessel, the MV Ferry 27.

The survivors were clinging to the overturned boat when they were spotted by the cargo ship, which was headed for Cebu City.

One rescued passenger, Danny de Leon, said the survivors had been in the water for two hours before they were rescued.

De Leon said they were about 30 minutes from Tulang when the boat encountered big waves.

Benolirao said the boat captain was being investigated.

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