WHAT was to be a simple beach outing with friends turned into tragedy when two girls, ages eight and 10, drowned in the seawaters of Barangay Casay, Dalaguete town, southern Cebu on Friday afternoon, April 22, 2022.

Police identified the fatalities as Jhillary May Belanizo Rivera, 8, and Kylie Lopez, 10, both residents of Barangay Manangal, in the same town.

Major Gilfred Baroman, who is the chief of Dalaguete town's police force, told SunStar Cebu that the two were swimming together with their friends at around 3:30 p.m. when big waves suddenly carried the girls towards the deeper portion of the coast.

Baroman said both girls didn't know how to swim and eventually drowned after their friends failed to rescue them on time.

Bystanders who were able to recover the girls said they immediately brought the victims to a nearby hospital but it was already too late. Both girls died before reaching the medical facility.

Residents in the area who witnessed the incident told police that they initially warned the two victims and their friends to avoid swimming at the area as a "kantil" or underwater precipice was situated there.

Baroman said that residents even warned the kids to stay on the large rocks near the coast or else, they could be swept towards the deeper portion of the beach. (GPL / JKV)