Some 41 passengers, including two foreigners, and five crew members of the motor banca “Jathropa,” were saved by the Philippine Coast Guard Station (CGS) South Western Palawan early on January 29.
The passenger boat almost sank because of rough seas near Caboang Bay, Barangay Salang, Balabac. Among its passengers were two foreign nationals from Rwanda and France.
PCG District Palawan spokesperson Lieutenant Junior Grade Mary Gretch Acuario said that the passenger boat was en route to Buliluyan Island from Balabac when they encountered strong waves that damaged the boat’s hull.
“Local residents pero may dalawang foreigners from Rwanda at France. Passenger boat from Balabac to Buliluyan. Nahampas sila ng malakas na alon ano kasi ang impact doon sa hull, kinain ng alon so nag-submerge yung bangka,” she said.
Acuario also said that CGS South Western Palawan was able to send rescuers a few minutes after receiving the distress call.
“Actually, 7:08 daw sila nalubog, nakatawag agad sa Coast Guard, 7:15 naka-dispatch kaagad tayo, 7:20 na rescue kaagad sila. Walang namatay walang nasaktan, ligtas naman lahat. Lahat kasi naman sila naka life vest at mabilis naman ang ating search and rescue team. Malapit sila sa Balabac kaya doon sila dinala pabalik,” she added.