A 69-YEAR-OLD woman who had just claimed her pension was killed while 52 were rescued after a passenger pumpboat sank off the coast of De Gato Island, Daanbantayan in northern Cebu on Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2021.
Rustica Oyaw, 69, who lives in Carnaza Island, was already dead when rescuers from the Daanbantayan municipal government and the Philippine Coast Guard recovered her.
Lt. Junior Grade Erick Salcedo, information officer for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Central Visayas, said the passenger pumpboat, MB Mercy Ray, reportedly departed from the port in Barangay Poblacion at 4 p.m. as was proceeding towards Carnaza Island.
Aside from the 53 passengers and crew, the pumpboat also carried around 10 sacks of rice and 70 cases of beverages.
At 5:30 a.m. while sailing just off the coast of De Gato island, water began to enter the pumpboat, causing it to sink.
Local rescuers were able to rescue the passengers and crew at around 6 p.m. after they were able to send a distress signal to the PCG.
Salcedo said based on their initial investigation, overloading was one of the factors behind the pumpboat’s sinking.
Salcedo said the vessel was only capable of accomodating 26 passengers.
Of the 52 passengers that were rescued, four were minors.
1. Diano, Kert John A
2. Diano, Wernher A
3. Mahinay, Raul R
4. Mahinay, Lowella A
5. Diamos, Ma.Diana T
6. Motana, Ferlein B
7. Villarejo, Glibjara C
8. Quezon, Rhea Mae M
9. Hibay, Dina Joy B
10. Maloloy-on, Maricel E
11. Aceberos, Frivie M
12. Belasco, Noli C
13. Cañezo, Johnly C
14. Conejos, Rejie P
15. Roca, Merlinda P
16. Bacia, Hyzel P
17. Roca, Rennielyn P
18. Delos Santos, Julius M
19. Roca, Jenneca Joy J
20. Presbitero, Lovely Mae T
21. Gacutan, Jasley R
22. Roca, Rennie P
23. Aceberos, Victoria M
24. Aceberos, Angeline M
25. Cabantao, Chenee V
26. Jeffry Bacia
27. Cabantao, Allen E
28. Cabantao, Allen Dave V
29. Velasco, Janen M
30. Samporna, Pedro Jr. R
31. Cañete, Marivic R
32. Comendador, Lucy Karren
33. Comendador, Alfredo M
34. Velasco, Wilfredo B
35. Diano, Pepito A
36. Corullo, Mark M
37. Diano, Alfonso A
38. Cañete, Narciso Sr. A
39. Bacon, Francis F
40. Bernaldo, Allan V
41. Alonzo, Amado Jr, L
42. Alonzo, Ariel L
43. Añasco, John R
44. Tadlas, Anthoñiza C
45. Cuyos, Rodulfo B
Also rescued were the pumpboat’s crew members including boat captain Jojie Diano, motorman Luz Commendador and crew members Napolion Catam-isan, Rey-ar Quezon, Kyle Ven R Alcantara, Ralf Denzo and Stephen Arriesgado.
The survivors were immediately brought to the Daanbantayan District Hospital for treatment.
Following the incident, Salcedo said Diano, the boat’s captain, was arrested by local police while the rest of the crew were placed under the municipal government’s custody.
The police are set to file a charge for reckless imprudence resulting to homicide against Diano.
But Diano, in an interview with Superbalita Cebu, said he had no intention of leading his passengers and crew to harm.
Diano admitted that while only 26 passengers were allowed to ride his vessel, they decided to accomodate most of the passengers that came as most of them were in a hurry to get home to Carnaza Island due to the long weekend.
Most of the passengers just came from the city to offer prayers to their deceased relatives.
Diano said they would initially depart from their port in Barangay Tapilon but due to the sudden change of the sea’s condition, they decided to transfer their vessel to Barangay Poblacion.
At the middle of their journey, Diano said his crew members noticed that the water has started to enter their vessel.
As more water entered the vessel, Diano immediately ordered his crew to distribute life jackets to the passengers.
Diano recalled that before she died, Oyaw even asked him to not abandon her as the vessel was sinking.
Diano said he stayed with Oyan even as their vessel was going down.
But an hour after their vessel sank, Oyaw told Diano that she was getting weak because of the cold sea water.
A few minutes later, Oyaw suddenly went unconscious. When Diano checked on her, Oyaw was no longer breathing.
In a separate interview, Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura said they will provide assistance to Oyaw’s surviving family.
Shimura added they also provided relief aid to the surviving passengers and crew.
Shimura said he is contemplating on cancelling or suspending the vessel’s permits but it will depend on the results of the PCG’s investigation. (ANV, GPL / JKV)