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Search continues for mother, daughter who were swept away by floodwaters in Catmon

By: Mae Fhel Gom-os - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | September 27,2021 - 09:45 AM

|Contributed photo

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – Rescuers in Catmon town in northern Cebu continue to search for a mother and her daughter after they were swept by floodwaters while swimming near the Tinubdan falls in Barangay Tabili.

Jacel Alastra, 32, and her daughter, Princess, who is only seven-years-old, have been missing for at least 19 hours as of this writing.

Police recovered Sunday night, the body of Alastra’s nephew, Kent Junde Monterolla, 17, near the spillway in Katambisan in Barangay Corazon.

Police Corporal Mendel Orvillo of the Catmon Police Station said the three were part of a group of local tourists who visited the waterfalls for a swim on Sunday.

Carlos Dolendo, who was also at the waterfalls when the incident happened, said they tried to rescue the victims but they were swept away by floodwaters.

Dolendo said there were around 100 persons at the vicinity of the waterfalls when the incident happened at around 1 p.m.  About 30 of them were swimming on the water then.

The gush of floodwater came as a surprise because it was not raining in the area then.  They only experienced drizzles, he recalled.

But the caretaker of the waterfalls that sits on a government lot had warned local tourists of the possibility of flooding when it starts to rain.

Dolendo said that most of them did not heed the warning.  They only started to scamper when they heard someone shout to warn them that a gush of water was headed their way.

He said many of them were able to immediately run to dry land but there were also those who were left behind.

“Hinay ra ang taligsik sa area, pero didto sa punuan sa falls, kusog ang uwan. Pagkahitabo adto, naa ra’y nisyagit nga ‘baha, baha’. Before sa bul-og sa tubig, ni-color pa siya og brown, after two minutes didto na nibundak ang kusog nga tubig sa falls. Mga two minutes ra gyud, ni-bul-og ang tubig, nikusog gyud siya dayon. Wala namo na-feel nga mobaha siya kay hinay ra taligsik raman, ” he said.

(It was only drizzling in our area but it appears to be raining at the origin of the water falls.  When it happened, we heard someone warn us of flooding. We noticed that the water in the area turned brown and two minutes later it started to rain in our area.  We did not anticipate the flooding coming because it was only drizzling then.)

Dolendo said they tried to rescue Monterola by throwing a rope at his direction.  The boy was able to hang on to a rock for about 30 minutes before he eventually lost his grip and was swept away.

“Natagbaw pami’g pangita’g pisi. Gisumpay ra gani to namo ang pisi, pero mubo ra gyud gihapon. Maayo unta to’g mahikot sa iyang lawas or sa iyang kamot, unya kay perting muboa man sa pisi. Unya saka dako sa bato nga gitungtungan niya, mao to nga nakabuhi gyud siya sa pisi nga gikuptan  niya,” he said.

(We had to look for a rope. We connected the ropes and threw it at his direction.  We were hoping that he could tie it on his body or his hands but the rope that we found was too short.  And because of he was hanging on to a huge rock, he eventually lost his grip of the rope.)

Monterola’s body was found past 9 p.m. or nine hours after he went missing, near the spillway in Barangay Corazon. / dcb







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TAGS: Catmon town, floodwaters, Tinubdan Falls

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