4 dead as boat with mostly teachers capsizes

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08:05 PM March 9th, 2013

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March 9th, 2013 08:05 PM

LEGAZPI CITY—Government search and rescue teams fished out the bodies of four persons who were killed when a boat, carrying mostly public school teachers, capsized off the waters of Bacacay, Albay, on Friday.

At least 21 of the boat passengers were rescued.

The fatalities were identified as Jeffry Osario, 25, of Barangay Sugod, a census enumerator of the National Statistics Office; Emerlita Barrameda, a public school teacher from Cagraray village; Chechin Espeniling, a minor; and Diego Crisol, the boat captain.

Chief Insp. Luke Ventura, Bacacay town police chief, said three of the fatalities drowned while the boat captain, who owned and operated the boat, died of cardiac arrest after the boat, MB John Ashley, developed engine trouble around 5 p.m. on Friday.

He said 19 of the 25 passengers were public elementary school teachers who were on their way home to the mainland Bacacay town on board the boat.

Quoting survivors, Ventura said passengers of the wooden outrigger boat panicked when the engine conked out and big waves started hitting the boat, forcing it to capsize and sink.

Initial reports from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the passengers failed to wear their life vests despite their availability in the boat.

The PCG said the boat also sailed despite a gale force warning raised by the weather bureau in the eastern seaboard of the country. The accident occurred some 2 kilometers from the town pier and 25 km from this city.

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