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  Home > Philippines

Iloilo-Guimaras Safe Harbor Turns Deadly

Bystanders glimpse at the remains of the ill-fated passenger boat Jenny Vince that capsized along the Iloilo Strait, a body of water separating Iloilo City and neighboring coastal towns from the island province of Guimaras, which is seen in the background. At least 28 were confirmed dead when three passenger boats capsized August 3. (TARA YAP / MANILA BULLETIN)


 August 6th, 2019  |  09:42 AM  |    views

Iloilo City


Sea mishap death toll nears 30


The August 3 sea tragedy illustrated how Iloilo Strait, which separates Iloilo City and neighboring coastal towns from the island province of Guimaras, has become a treacherous body of water that killed almost 30 people.


Disaster officials Monday confirmed that fatalities have climbed to 28 while six others remain missing when three passenger boats capsized Saturday along the body of water that has previously been known as a safe harbor for vessels during stormy weather.


Among the casualties were Romeo Baguio Jr., his three-year-old son Jay Arven, his mother, and six others. They came to the island of Guimaras from Cebu that day as Romeo asked the blessings of the family of his would-have-been bride Maria Nieves Grandeza. But tragedy struck hours after when they boarded passenger boat Jenny Vince, which was on its way to Iloilo City from the wharf in Buenavista town when it encountered a pugada (squall) that flipped over the boat. Only Maria survived while the rest died.


Eight teachers also perished while riding the same passenger boat. Five of them were teachers from Iloilo province while three were teachers working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but were only in the country for vacation.


The squall, or the sudden emergence of strong wind and rain, also caused the ill-fated trips of passenger boats Chi-Chi and Keziah 2 just two hours earlier.


The August 3 incident was not the first major maritime incident along the Iloilo Strait. Passenger boat Tawash also capsized and killed nine people including the boat captain in October 2015 while a cargo ship sank in February 2015.


Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin is urging for the review of the design of passenger boats. He recalled Monday that fatal accidents were rare when he was younger as passenger boats had a different design and were more stable.


Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) joined Monday the search and retrieval operations for the six missing people. It included a boat from the Philippine Navy, a helicopter by the Philippine Air Force and personnel from the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID).




by Tara Yap


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