Body found at sea near area where cargo vessel sank off Leyte
CEBU CITY — A body has been found floating in the sea off Canigao Island in Leyte.
Seaman Second Class (SN2) Philip Tadina of the Philippine Coast Guard in Eastern Visayas (PCG-8) said the cadaver had yet to be identified.
“It is still for verification,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon.
Personnel from PCG were looking for crane operator, Benjamin Orola, who was missing after cargo vessel MV Meridian Tres sank in the waters near Dawahon Island between the provinces of Bohol and Leyte around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Tadina refused to give further details about the body they found Thursday morning, near the site where MV Meridian Tres sank.
He said PCG-8 would release an official statement once the body was identified.
MV Meridian Tres, a steel-hulled cargo vessel, left Pier 5 in Cebu City at 1:55 on Tuesday to sail to Tacloban City in Leyte.
Although there was gale warning issued at that time, the cargo vessel was cleared by the Philippine Coast Guard to sail to Tacloban City since it was over 250 gross tons.
Seven hours later, the vessel was battered by huge waves in between the islands of Leyte and Bohol, causing it to tilt and later sink.
Twenty-eight of the 29 crew members and cargo escorts were saved by nearby vessels and Coast Guard teams that responded to the distress call.
Only Orola, the crane operator, was not found.
Cebu Coast Guard Station Commander Dionilett Ampil said the search and rescue operations were done by their counterparts in Eastern Visayas since the place where the cargo vessel sank was near the latter’s jurisdiction.
Ampil said the survivors were allowed to go home after they underwent stress debriefing at the Cebu Coast Guard Station. SFM
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