5 volunteers drown, 9 others hurt in Tarlac river mishap
At least five people drowned while nine others were hurt when a group of volunteers was swept away by a strong current at the Pangasahan River in San Jose town in Tarlac province following heavy rain on Sunday afternoon, a police official said on Monday.
Senior Supt. Alex Sintin, Tarlac provincial police director, said search teams recovered the bodies of Mark Raven Villanueva, Rocky Sumalinog, Jose Bernadette Ramirez, Jo Marie San Diego and Dooren Adriano after a 12-hour search that started at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Sintin said the victims joined a team of 54 mountaineers who held an outreach program in Sitio Baag, an Aeta village in Barangay San Pedro. He said the group distributed school supplies to children in that community and was on its way to the San Jose town proper, some two hours away by foot, when the incident happened.
Sintin said the incident was reported by San Jose Vice Mayor Romeo Capitulo at around 5 p.m.
Policemen, Army soldiers and personnel of the Tarlac Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) began the search and rescue at 6:30 p.m. from Sitio San Pedro in Barangay Iba.
At least 39 people were rescued in the upland village. Three of the fatalities were found downstream of a dam in the town at 6 a.m. on Monday.
Sintin said another man remained missing as of Monday afternoon.
“There were previous incidents of drowning there. This group did not coordinate with the Tarlac provincial tourism office or with the local government. They did not have local guides or received standard procedures for safety,” Sintin told the Inquirer by telephone. Tonette Orejas
Originally posted: 02:45 PM August 31st, 2015