BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte (MindaNews/01 August) – Sixty-three fishermen from the town of Buenavista in Agusan del Norte were rescued after huge waves swept them off their pumpboats on Butuan Bay at around 4 a.m. Wednesday.
Most of the fishermen spent between four and eight hours in the water before rescue came.
According to the Butuan Search and Rescue Team (Busart), 27 of the fishermen came from Sitio Looc, Barangay Manapa; 29 from purok 4 Barangay 10 and seven from Barangay Matabao, all in Buenavista.
“Around 4:00 dawn after the moon started to disappear along the horizon we were suddenly hit by a huge wave which swept us off our boats. I think there were more than 30 people in the water when it hit us,” said Angelito Canatoy, one of the fishermen who were rescued by the members of Busart.
“Most of the boats hit by the wave were badly damaged or cut in halves by the wave. Only a few were still intact or only slightly damaged,” Camillo Sarko, one of the rescued fishermen from Barangay 10 said.
Maryfe N. Rosales, training officer of Busart pointed out that they got the call for help at 8:10am.
“After we got the call we immediately proceeded to Buenavista with our ambulance boat and a smaller boat. Another team from the Agusan del Norte Search and Rescue Team was also in the area with a large rubber boat. We immediately established a first aid post here in Barangay 10,” said Rosales.
Tubay town and the Philippine Coast Guard also sent their search and rescue units to the area.
Fishermen from Buenavista supported by the town’s local government unit likewise helped in the search and rescue effort.
Several of the fishermen suffered slight wounds and contusions, while one was rushed to the Nasipit municipal hospital after his blood pressure shot up to 200/100.
The rescued fishermen said there could be fishermen from other towns who were still in the sea waiting to be rescued. But this was yet to be confirmed. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)