ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 17 July) — Fisherfolk from Luuk town in Sulu and personnel of the Philippine Navy‘s Naval Task Group-Sulu on Thursday and Friday rescued a total of 17 passengers and recovered two dead bodies from two boats that capsized off Sulu.
All three passengers of M/L Putli Dahiran, a cargo boat that capsized off Bangas Island in Panglima Tahil, Sulu, were rescued Thursday afternoon, according to Lt. Chester Ross Cabaltera, Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) acting spokesperson.
Col. Hernanie Songano, commander of the 4th Marine Brigade Command and Naval Task Group-Sulu said a civilian reported that M/L Putli Dahiran was in distress somewhere in the waters off Bangas Island with three passengers on board. Rescued passengers later said the boat lost power and was drifting in rough seas.
In response to the distress call, Songano said his unit dispatched the Multi-Purpose Attack Craft (MPAC) BA-485 of the Philippine Navy on Thursday evening, to conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. Three passengers were rescued from the boat that came from Jolo port: Amasher Abirin, 38; Wahid Isa, 40; and Alkramier Unding, a one-year-old child who endured floating in the water for more than two hours, assisted by one of the survivors.
On their way back to the 3rd Marine Brigade headquarters in Luuk, Sulu, the naval crew on board the MPAC found at the vicinity of one nautical mile northeast off Bakungan Island in Patikul town, the capsized M/L Friendly, a civilian wooden-hulled type of seacraft referred to as jungkong, that left the port of Zamboaga City at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
Fisherfolk from Luuk rescued 12 passengers early Friday morning and recovered the bodies of two passengers who did not survive the ordeal. The Navy rescued two more passengers also on Friday.
Inspector Jayson Ahijon, head of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Jolo said the passenger boat was in distress Thursday at about five in the afternoon somewhere near Bakungan Island in Patikul, Sulu.
Ahijon said M/L Friendly had 19 persons on board: 15 passengers and a four-member crew.
A passenger named Misba Radjuli, 29, said the vessel left Zamboanga City on Thursday at 11 o’clock in the morning and passed by Port Holland at Maluso in Basilan. After a short stopover, the vessel was bound for Sulu but were met with raging waves as the boat was nearing Jolo waters.
On Friday morning, brothers Usman and Sarahan Amman, both fishers from Sitio Undanan, Barangay Kan Bulak in Luuk, Sulu, reported to NTG-Sulu that they saw persons believed to be passengers of M/L Friendly and brought them to shore.
The Navy personnel immediately proceeded to the area to attend to the needs of the rescued.
Rescued aside from Radjuli were Kalma Hassan, 43; Rosalyn Marajan Unding, 27; Jomar Said, 27; Nadzrin Morajan, 16; Marsida Sarahan, 36; Shermalyn Hamsanain, 36; Pirusa Basri, 39; Adilina Cuadra, 41; Gloria Jumaadil, 15; Jidy Sangkula, 56; and seven-year old Nadjara Aramin.
Sangano added that the continued SAR operations in the vicinity of Tambanan Island in Luuk eventually led to the rescue of two more passengers, Nijar Aribin, 34 and Jaime Lopez, 45.
The passengers who did not survive were identified as Hja Suhula Radjuli, 70 and Sitti Kalasahan Radjuli, 33. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)