Human remains, boat wreckage found off Samar town, says military
MANILA, Philippines — The wreckage of a motorized boat and the remains of a woman were found by fishermen off the coast of Tarangnan town in Samar, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday.
Authorities are conducting a search and retrieval operation along the coast of Samar province since August 22 following a boat explosion in Catbalogan City, Samar.
According to the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police (PNP), the human remains and the boat wreckage were found scattered and floating in the waters approximately 1.5 kilometers south off the shoreline of Tarangnan on Tuesday morning.
“Lower part lang po ng isang tao ang na retrieved. Yung bangka ay total wreck at nagkahiwahiwalay. Unang nakita ang bandang buntot ng bangka, sumunod na yung iba pang mga bahagi na mukhang inanod ng malakas na alon kaya magkakalayo nung maretrieve,” said AFP’ Joint Task Force Storm spokesperson Cpt Ryan Layug in a statement.
(Only the lower part of the body was retrieved. The boat was in total wreck. One end of the boat was found first, then the other parts. Pieces of the boat were scattered by the strong waves.)
“Sa tantya ng mga residente kung saan dinala ang wreckage, may kapasidad na mahigit sampung katao ang pwedeng sumakay sa nasirang bangka,” he added.
(Residents in the area said at least ten people can fit inside the boat.)
The human remains and the boat wreckage were later turned over to Tarangnan Municipal Police Station.
“The retrieval of debris and this human remains is a positive development and we are hopeful that bits of information that will be obtained from these will provide confirmation to all earlier speculations,” AFP Joint Task Force Commander Major General Edgardo De Leon said in the same statement.
“We have coordinated with the local PNP for assistance in determining the identity of the recovered body part through appropriate laboratory procedures. We also sent drones to scour for more debris and remains, but the unfavorable weather condition over the area hindered the air surveillance mission,” he added.
The human remains were later buried by the local government of Tarangnan, Samar, the AFP added.
On Monday, the AFP said a firefight took place between members of a military patrol and a group of suspected communist rebels aboard a motorized banca south of Buri Island in Catbalogan City, Samar. The boat later exploded.
There were reports that among those on board were communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon. But Maj. Gen. Edgardo de Leon, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) based in Catbalogan, earlier said this could not be confirmed.
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