College student dies, 9 rescued from rampaging river in North Cotabato

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KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines — A graduating college student died while nine others were rescued when a rampaging river swept them in Barangay (village) Bantac, Magpet, North Cotabato on Sunday noon.

Carl Jones Tanaid, Magpet town tourism officer, identified the victim as Richiel Empas, 20, a student of the College of Education at the University of Southern Mindanao – Kidapawan City Campus.

Tanaid said the group was having water tubing in the Kabacan River in Magpet  when the water level suddenly rose due to heavy downpour in the mountainous portion of the town.

The group were  composed of students from Davao City, General Santos and Kabacan who are members of the Sandawa Apo Mountaineering Club-Mindanao chapter.

“They were in their final training in disaster management,”  Tanaid said.

Tanaid said the group had informed their office about the activity, prompting the local government of Magpet to send a team to guide, secure and even watch the group’s every activity.

Rescuers from nearby Kidapawan City tried to revive the victim and was brought to a hospital where she was pronounced dead by the attending physician.

Empas sustained bruises and wounds in the head and face.

Johnny Empas, the victim’s father blamed the leadership of the group for not telling them that a training was to be held in a river.

“Had I known, I would not have allowed my daughter since the weather condition at that time was not favorable,”  Empas said.

Empas said his daughter did not have him sign a waiver or parent’s consent prior to the training.

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