Four children dead, another one missing in drowning incident in Iligan

Coast Guard personnel try to revive one of the drowning victims. Photo courtesy of PCG-Lanao del Norte

ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 06 January) – Four children died and another one was declared missing after they reportedly drowned while swimming around 8 a.m. Thursday in Purok 1, Tambacan, a coastal village here.

Petty Officer 1 Adrian Debalucos, Officer-In-Charge of Lanao del Norte Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Station identified the victims as Jomar D. Sarsaba, 6; Jocel D. Sarsaba, 7; Junrey D. Sarsaba, 12; Daisy Mae T. Doble, 9; and Neijel Mae Q. Marilag, 6, all residents of the place.

The three Sarsabas were siblings.

Except for Doble who remains missing, all the victims were declared dead by attending physicians.

The Sarsaba siblings were brought to Don Gregorio Lluch Memorial Hospital while Marilag was brought to Dr. Uy Hospital.

Debalucos said PCG and Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office personnel tried to revive the victims before an ambulance came to bring them to the hospitals.

He said his men who saw that people had gathered at the beach in Tambacan went to the area to find out why and were told about the drowning incident.

They then dispatched two teams on a rubber boat and a speedboat to retrieve the victims with the help of some residents.

In an initial investigation, police said Primiliro Sarsaba, father of the Sarsabas, tried to rescue Jocel but the four other children followed and grabbed his back.

Primiliro pushed the four children to recover his breath. Afterwards, big waves carried the five children away, police said.

Debalucos said they suspended the search and retrieval operations due to strong winds and big waves but will continue on Friday morning. (Richel V. Umel/MindaNews)