Ship collision death toll rises to 4

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Saturday, March 15, 2014


MANILA -- Search and rescue teams recovered two more bodies near an area in Ternate, Cavite where an unidentified ship and a fishing vessel collided last Wednesday, bringing the number of casualties to four.

This developed as authorities fear that the remaining missing fishermen might have been trapped in the wreckage of fishing vessel F/B Dan Israel-G.

The fatalities were identified as Romnick Rosales and Ruben Ursal. Rosales' body was found on the seabed on Saturday, said Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Public Affairs chief Commander Armando Balilo.

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Earlier, the bodies of Jojo Cumbilla and Vincent dela Cruz were recovered by the Coast Guard Special Operations Group (CGSOG).

The PCG spokesperson added that there is a "strong probability" that there were men trapped inside the fishing boat as based on the accounts of the survivors, some were sleeping at the time of the collision.

"While we continue to search for the missing fishermen along the fishing villages in Cavite and even extended up to Bataan, we are looking at the possibility that maybe some of the missing fishermen were trapped inside the boat," said Balilo.

F/B Dan Israel-G was reportedly carrying 23 fishermen when it collided with a still unidentified cargo vessel. Out of the 23 fishermen, four have died, seven remain missing and 12 were rescued.

As of Saturday afternoon, rescue teams were busy bringing in drums, which will be filled with air to refloat the vessel.

(Photos by Philippine Navy)

Balilo said F/B Dan Israel-G now lies 33 meters under water.

The two ships collided around 11 p.m. on March 12 some three nautical miles off Ternate, Cavite. Two vessels have passed by the area at the time of the incident, according to the Vessel Traffic Monitoring System.

"Based on the accounts of the rescued fishermen it appeared that they were on board the F/B Dan Israel-G, that came from Navotas, when it encountered engine trouble and lowered it anchor while trying to repair their engine. It was during this time when they were reportedly hit by a still unidentified cargo ship," Balilo said.

The 12 fishermen were rescued by F/B Dan Israel-L, which is a sister ship of the ill-fated fishing vessel. Some of the survivors were identified as Jun-Jun Napalit, Raymond Masibag, Mak-Mak Dabanda, Lito Dabanda, Landrito Ancero, Paks Ando and certains Jason and Ambelo.

Based on initial accounts, the fishermen told the PCG that after the collision that the crew of the cargo ship allegedly even pointed their flashlight at them, thus giving the impressions that the cargo ship might have been aware that it hit another vessel.

The CGSOG divers will once again conduct diving operations to check possible fishermen that might have been trapped inside the fishing boat.

PCG commandant Vice Admiral Rodolfo Isorena has already ordered a thorough investigation into the incident. (Sunnex)

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