Latest Stories

Banana boat mid-sea collision probed

A day after a female Korean tourist was killed at sea while taking a fun ride on an inflated “banana boat,” a closer look is being taken at safety issues in aqua sports in the Mactan Channel.

“I can say everybody has to be more careful,” said Charlie Shin, vice president of the Cebu Korean Association.

“I hope this will not affect tourist arrivals in Cebu.”

Police said charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide will be filed today against the driver of the Jet Ski pulling the banana boat and the boatman of a motorized pump boat with 20 other Koreans on board, which collided with the group of five Korean women Sunday noon.

It’s up to the prosecutor to decide who’s at fault, said police officials.

The mishap took place about 12 o’clock off Looc, Maribago in Lapu-Lapu City.

The impact killed 50-year-old Ji Sung Sook and sent two of her friends to the hospital with bruises and head injuries.

Sook’s husband and son arrived in Cebu last night to arrange for the victim’s remains to be flown back to South Korea after an autopsy is done.

The woman was in Cebu with four female friends for a vacation, according to Shin.

Like typical tourists, the group, which was staying at Maribago Bluewater Resort, wanted to try all water sports available, said Shin, and arranged for a banana boat ride with a dive shop.

Mactan, a popular leisure destination, hosts several resorts that offer guests a choice of aqua sports, which has increased the traffic of jet skis and pump boats in sea lanes.

The situation prompted the Lapu-Lapu city government to enact an ordinance last Aug. 17 regulating their operation and setting safety standards.

In Sunday’s accident, police said operators of the water sports facilities were unable to present licenses and registration papers. They were given until today to do so.

Chief Insp. Zenaido Pastorfide Jr., chief of the homicide section, said the drivers violated “most of the provisions” of Lapu-Lapu City Ordinance No. 256-2011.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to meet tourism stakeholders in Mactan to discuss safety precautions in aqua sports.

DOT Regional Director Rowena Montecillo said the collision was an “isolated case” but that she would meet with dive shop owners and boat operators to discuss safety regulations after the police completes its investigation.

“We have established safety regulations on these activities. It’s just a matter of enforcing them properly,” Montecillo told Cebu Daily News.

Montecillo said the DOT is coordinating with the Korean community in Cebu and their consulate office in Manila to seek assistance for the Korean tourists involved in the mishap.

She said there are designated areas in Mactan for Jet Skis and island hopping for boats set by the local government.

“We are still waiting for the final report from the police about the incident. We have no complete details of the incident yet,” Montecillo said.

She said dive shop owners and other facilities that provide aqua sports in Mactan undergo training and orientation on safety regulations before they are accredited by the DOT.

“We always remind the resorts to be safe,” Montecillo said.

“Accidents do happen. This is is an isolated case,” she said, and emphasized it would not affect the tourism industry in Mactan.

If business owners are found at fault in the police investigation, they stand to have their DOT accreditation suspended, she said.

Koreans are the biggest foreign group of tourists in Cebu.

The two injured Korean women were still confined in the hospital yesterday but were declared out of danger by physicians.

Lee Og Kynang, 56, and Park Mi Su, 52, had injuries in the head and bruises in the body.

The management of Maribago Bluewater Resort, where they were staying, and the Jet Ski’s operator Cecilio Ycot assisted in the hospitalization and other needs of their guests.

Based on their passports, the Koreans arrived in Cebu last Nov. 12 and were to stay on until Dec. 3.

Based on initial police investigation, the banana boat was being towed by a Jet Ski driven by Giovanni Paquibot, 38, from Sabang, Olango Island. He was about to bring the passengers to some coral reefs.

The motorized pump boat manned by Alsin Tongco, 33, of Tingo, Olango Island, was bringing 20 Korean tourists to Olango for “island hopping.”

Tongco said the jet ski suddenly crossed their path and it was difficult for him to maneuver away.

Investigator PO2 Luisito Ernie said it seemed that the Jet Ski driver was looking at the opposite direction and failed to notice the presence of the pump boat when the mishap occurred.

Police said the Marta Dive Shop contacted a Jet Ski operator for the resort guests and Jetmaster provided the five-seater banana boat.

The women were all equipped with life jackets and were briefed on the do’s and don’ts about riding the inflated boat by dive shop personnel.

Paquibot, the Jet Ski driver, said that while they were traveling away from the resort, a motorized pump boat suddenly crossed their path.

“I didn’t notice the pump boat coming until it was too late. I tried to steer to the left but the banana boat behind me was hit because the towing rope was long,” said Paquibot in Cebuano.

Paquibot immediately swam and rescued passengers floating unconscious in the sea. The crew of the motorized boat sought help from a passing Jet Ski. The three Korean women were brought to the Mactan Doctors’ Hospital.

Among the provisions of the Lapu-Lapu City ordinance regulating aqua sports:

1. The Water Sports Instructor or assistant water Sports Instructor should have a valid national/ internationally recognized teaching status to instruct any water sport.

2. A mayor’s permit and license is needed by operators.

3. Jet Skis or similar sports equipment must have body numbers painted on them or stickers for easy identification.

4. Jet Skis must observe “extreme caution” not to cause waves in its wake so as not to disturb or imperil bathers, snorkelers and divers in the area between the shoreline/beachfront and the ledge. They must “move slowly” within these areas.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said she was saddened by Sunday’s accident and hopes operators of recreational sports facilities will take the proper precautions.

“We in the city are not lacking in ensuring the safety of guests in resorts. If there’s anything that still has to be amended in the ordinance, maybe we should do that,” she said. Candeze R. mongaya, Norman V. Mendoza and Carmel Loise Matus

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Accident , banana boat , sea accident

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • 4 Etihad passengers not yet located
  • DAR to complete installation of Luisita land reform beneficiaries in May
  • Ex-COA chief and co-accused in Arroyo plunder case nabbed
  • Kris Aquino’s ex- close in security named new Air Force chief
  • The ‘link diagram’ that killed ex-Bataan police officer
  • Sports

  • NLEX holds off Jumbo Plastic for a playoff berth
  • Pacquiao can dodge tax issues
  • F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery charges
  • Big Chill freezes Cafe France to arrest skid
  • Pacquiao has to go through PBA Rookie draft
  • Lifestyle

  • Summer Mayhem: The ultimate beach experience
  • A haven for steak lovers
  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • Metro Pacific acquires stake in Victorias
  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Tiff with HK over Luneta hostage fiasco finally over
  • DOLE sees more Filipinos hired by South Koreans
  • Filipinos second-shortest in Southeast Asia
  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Marketplace