ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/03 April) – Five people died, 14 were rescued while several other passengers have remained missing after a wooden-hulled vessel capsized Thursday off Parang, Sulu.
Capt. Maria Rowena Muyuela, Western Mindanao Command information officer, said the vessel, MPB-Wilayza, was traveling to the island town of Tapul from Jolo when it sunk around 11 a.m. Thursday.
Muyuela, quoting a report from Jolo Coastguard station, said the vessel sunk after it was battered by big waves while in the vicinity of Laud Pandan and Parang towns.
She said the boat was loaded with some 55 passengers, 100 bags of cement and other cargoes when it sank. It departed from a private wharf in Jolo around 9 a.m. Thursday.
She said the Joint Task Group Sulu, upon receipt of report, dispatched Patrol Guntboat-381 (PG-381) to assist in the search and rescue operations.
She said the 14 passengers who were rescued, seven children and seven adults, taken to the government hospital in Jolo.
The bodies of the five fatalities have been recovered, she added.
Ensign Chester Ian Ramos, Task Force Zambasulta information officer, said there were some passengers who were taken to Tapul by the barangay officials of the place that were among the first responders.
Sulu authorities have yet to ascertain the exact number of passengers who are still missing as the search and rescue operation was still continuing. (MindaNews)