8 Pangasinan fishermen say they’re safe but lost


DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines—Eight fishermen from Bolinao who had been reported missing telephoned the owner of their boat Saturday to say they had survived a stormy day out at sea and managed to land their vessel somewhere but could not find their way home as they did not know where they were.

“Everyone is accounted for. We are now trying to locate them so that we can send an ambulance to fetch them,” Bolinao municipal administrator Wilfredo Castelo said.

The Coast Guard had sent boats out to the West Philippine Sea to search for the fishermen.

Castelo said the fishermen could not say where their boat had landed because they were not familiar with the place and had lost their global positioning system gadget in Friday’s squall.  “I’m sure they did not land in Bolinao. Otherwise, they should be familiar with it,” he said.

He said the fishermen left the village of Balingasay on the 14-ton boat Jomar Hurvey on June 11 to hunt for yellow fin tuna, which is abundant in the open sea.

They were to have sailed some 100 nautical miles off Bolinao and “not return until their boat is full,”  Castelo said.

Arnel Gohilde, the boat’s skipper, and his crew composed of Eddie Oribla, Rene Lebios, Ryan Lebios, Jerick Puda, Albin Puda, Norman Calicdan and Gringo Gagarao, were expected back on Friday  after a four-day fishing trip, said Gregorio Castrence, the boat’s owner.

But a low pressure area brought heavy rains and whipped up  strong winds along the western seaboard on Friday and the boat may have been swept by strong waves, Castrence said.

“But they called me on Friday morning that the boat had engine trouble so they stopped,” he said by telephone.

Castrence said he was told the boat was 47 nautical miles northeast of Bolinao.

At 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, apparently after bringing their boat to shore somewhere and a day after being reported missing, one of the crew was able to reach Castrence by phone but could not say where they were because the global positioning device they were carrying had fallen into the sea during the tempest.

Except for Lebios, who is from Barangay Pilar, all the rest are from Barangay Balingasay in Bolinao.

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