4 dead in collision of boats at Mindanao’s largest river
COTABATO CITY—Four persons were killed on Saturday (Aug. 24) in a collision of two motor-rigged boats in Rio Grande de Mindanao, one of the Philippines’ largest bodies of water.
Authorities are still searching for a missing boat passenger.
Travel by boat is a common mode of transportation for residents of communities along the banks of Rio de Grande, Mindanao’s largest river and the Philippines’ second longest.
The missing was identified as Sidik Esmael, a resident of Barangay Katidtuan of Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao province
Banjo Mampon, Sultan Kudarat municipal administrator, identified the fatalities as Jomar Akir and Jowaina Saling, both college students; Ustadz Elmie Norodin, an Islamic preacher; and Pudi Giadel, the boat operator.
Their bodies were recovered on Sunday (Aug. 25). Akir, Saling and Norodin were found in Barangay Lugay-Lugay of Cotabato City while Giadel in Barangay Bucana, also in Cotabato City.
They all died of drowning.
Akir was student of the Mindanao State University in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao while Saling is a midwifery student of Notre Dame Hospital and School of Midwifery in Cotabato City.
Mampon said the accident happened around 8:45 Saturday evening.
According to Mampon, the bigger boat with at least 10 passengers was heading to Barangay Katidtuan, Sultan Kudarat from Cotabato City when it was hit by the smaller boat on the Sultan Kudarat side of the river.
All passengers and boat operators were thrown off the wooden vessels. Those who survived mostly swam to the riverbank while others floated by and were rescued by other boats.
Mampon told reporters both vessels have no lights or early warning devices.
A search and rescue operation was quickly launched by the maritime police, Army Special Forces, Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato City rescue units along the 20-kilometer stretch of the river that empties into Illana Bay.
Sultan Kudarat town police have invited three survivors to shed light on the accident.
Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said city government will require all boats traveling to and from the city’s wharf to install lights and early warning equipment to avoid another accident like the fatal collision.
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