Banca sinks off Camotes Island
A mother and her young daughter drowned while three children went missing after the motor banca they were riding capsized around noon on Tuesday amid rough seas in the waters off San Francisco town on Camotes Island in northeastern Cebu.
The fatalities were identified as Nerissa Gonzaga, 30, and her daughter Althea, 2; and the missing children as Carel Palomar, 9; Andia de Leon, 2; Kevin Gonzaga, 4.
A total of 29 others including the captain of MV Habagat survived after they were rescued by the crew members of a passing commercial vessel and personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard Cebu Station (PCG Cebu).
P02 Rudolf Alain Benolerao of PCG Cebu said that the initial report that reached their station was that MV Habagat, which was carrying 30 passengers and four crew members, was heading for San Francisco town on Camotes Island from the mainland town of Carmen in northern Cebu when it was hit by strong waves shortly before noon, causing it to capsize.
Twenty-nine passengers, 15 of them minors, were rescued by the crew members of Lite Ferry 27 of Lite Shipping Corp., which happened to pass by the area, and by the PCG rescue team who came on board BRP Capones.
Rhannel Evasco, Chief mate of Lite Shipping ferry 27, said they were traversing the waters off Camotes Island at around 11:20 a.m. from Ormoc City when they saw MV Habagat being hit by big waves at least two miles from where they were.
He said their ship captain, Gerardo Lagados, decided to slow down the ship’s engine and ordered the crew to prepare for a possible rescue operation.
“In just a few minutes, we saw the motor banca slowly capsize,” Evasco told Cebu Daily News in a phone interview in Cebuano.
Evasco said they were also the ones who fished the bodies of Althea and Nerissa from the sea.
He added that survivors were safe and cared for while on board their vessel.
Evasco, who also provided CDN the names of the fatalities and the missing persons, identified the rescued passengers as Romar Hermosilla, 51, the ship captain; Jordan Gonzaga, 18; Edward Jayme, 16; Rowena Peroso, 29; Margie Gonzaga, 24; Jucemar Gonzaga, 12; Sherlie Miao, 49; Mark Gonzaga, 16; Judith Palomar, 47; Bonifacia Gonzaga, 57; Jeylo Palomar, 13; Vitaliana Sampan, 77; Angelica de Leon, 13; Danny de Leon Sr., 45; Elena Sumalinog, 50; Mariane Gonzaga, 14; Ma. Medesa Gonzaga, 47; Josie Gonzaga, 51; Anidita Formitira, 55; Milagros Otida, 62; John Lee Mark Gonzaga, 5; Crisalyn Peraso, 11; Danniel de Leon,5; Danny de Leon Jr., 9; Mary Jane Gonzaga, 10; Jinky Palomar, 6; Ritchiel Mea Soralta, 9; Princess Farrah Andrade, 3 months; and James Ivan Gonzaga, 2.
MV Lite ferry 27 docked at the Ouano Wharf in Mandaue City shortly before 10 p.m. on Tuesday.
Among the first to be brought down were the the remains of the mother and daughter fatalities wrapped in blankets.
The survivors, on the other hand, were assisted off the ferry by PCG Cebu and disaster response personnel from the Mandaue City government.