SULTAN, KUDARAT, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 25 August) – The bodies of four of five reported missing during a boat collision along the Rio Grande de Mindanao Saturday night have been retrieved on Sunday morning.
Ustadz Banjo Mampon, the municipal administrator, said that as soon as they learned about the accident, Mayor Datu Shameem Mastura deployed the municipal disaster response team.
“We only found the victims this morning. We pray the one we are still looking for could survive,” he said.
At around 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, a passenger boat loaded with 10 persons from Cotabato City port en route to Brgy. Katidtuan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao collided with a speeding smaller pumpboat loaded with three persons somewhere in Brgy. Bulibod waters, part of Rio Grande De Mindanao.
Mampon said the smaller boat hit the bigger boat. ”It seems both did not have enough warning devices and lights,” he said.
After the collision, only five of the passengers of the bigger boat surfaced while five were declared missing. All three passengers of the smaller boat that rammed into the bigger boat were held by the Sultan Kudarat police for investigation.
The four passengers whose remains were retrieved Sunday morning in Lugay-lugay, Cotabato City were college students Jomar Akir and Jowaina Saling; Ustadz Elmie Norodi, and Pudi Giadel, the boat driver whose body was found in Brgy. Bucana, Cotabato City.
Still missing is Sidik Esmael.
Troops from the 5th Special Forces, Cotabato City Rescue teams, Bureau of Fire Cotabato, Bangsaoro READi and civilian volunteers scoured the area since Saturday evening.
Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi said motorized boats operating in the city waters should install lights. “We don’t want another accident like this to happen again and this is for the security of the city which is accommodating strangers using the waters as their means of transportation,” she said. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)