Carmen River swells, kills 6; Vegetable Highway collapses

Carmen River swells, kills 6; vegetable highway collapses
SunStar Carmen

A family outing ended in tragedy when their vehicle was swept away by the strong current of a river in Carmen, northern Cebu, on Monday, July 8, 2024, resulting in the death of six individuals, five of whom are minors.

Three other towns in Cebu were affected by the collapse of a vegetable highway due to heavy rain on Monday afternoon.

In Carmen, the police identified the fatalities as Arshane Bejoc, 11, her body was found a few kilometers downstream of Luyang River, Clarisse Ypil, 13, and newly-wed Rhesamie and Elmer Costan, Aishie Hermoso, 12, and Nathaniel Lozano, 12.

President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who was in Cebu on Tuesday for the opening ceremony of the Palarong Pambansa 2024, announced in his speech that the Office of the President will assist victims of flooding in certain areas of Cebu.

Search and rescue ops

The search continue for the remaining missing passenger, Mike Stanley Tungal, 15.

The family’s red Toyota Hilux pick-up truck was carrying 17 passengers, including its driver, Ranilo Hermoso when the incident happened.

The Luyang River swelled during a downpour that was coupled with thunder and lightning.

Rhesamie was six months pregnant, according to Roger Suico, head of the Carmen Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office. Rhesamie and Elmer just had their wedding over the weekend before the incident.

Investigation showed that victims were on their way home in Barangay Cantucong after having a party at Middle Earth Resort located in Sitio Mangingit, Barangay Lower Natimao-an.

As their vehicle crossed the spillway, it was hit by a surge of floodwaters and got swept, eventually becoming lodged on a large rock several meters downstream.

Suico said only 10 out of the 17 victims managed to climb onto the large rock and hold onto part of a tree.

Suico said the search and rescue (SAR) operations started when they saw posts on social media on Monday afternoon. They then immediately went to the area and were able to save the 10 survivors.

The SAR operations on Monday stopped at 10:45 p.m. after they assessed that the area was no longer safe for the responders. The operation resumed the next day at 5 a.m.

Suico also said that the SAR operations will continue through coastline search, upstream to downstream, and downstream to upstream search.


The downpour in northern Cebu on Monday afternoon was caused by the prevailing easterlies, according to a report from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

Pagasa weather specialist Joseph Merlas told SunStar Cebu that the town of Carmen alone received 91.5 millimeters (mm) or 457,500 drums or barrels of rain per square kilometer, which lasted from 4:30 p.m. to 5:50 p.m. on Monday.

Every one mm of rain is equivalent to 5,000 drums or barrels of rain per square kilometer.

The easterlies refers to the warm and humid air coming from the Pacific which increases the possibility of rain and thunderstorms forming and affecting certain areas in the country.

Pagasa clarified that no typhoon or low pressure area is forming within the Philippine Area of Responsibility that might affect Cebu in the coming days.

However, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with a moderate to high chance of isolated rain showers and thunderstorms are expected in the early morning, late afternoon, and evening of Wednesday, July 10, and in the days to come as Cebu hosts various national events.

Vegetable highway collapse

Meanwhile, some portions of the roads in the mountainous towns of Dalaguete, Argao and Badian were unpassable on Tuesday, following the collapse of the Vegetable Highway in the area of Barangay Manlapay in Dalaguete, Cebu, according to Executive Master Sgt. Maximo Belceña of the Dalaguete Municipal Police Station, in an interview on Tuesday.

Several Facebook posts on Monday night reported that the Vegetable Highway collapsed and became impassable to vehicles going to Argao and Badian.

Belceña said the area in Manlapay, Dalaguete, where the Vegetable Highway collapsed, is a road going up to Badian and Argao that has a riprap.

He added that one house was affected and was abandoned by its owner after observing cracks.

Belceña said the concrete Vegetable Highway was just repaired last June. / CDF, DVG, with JERRY YUBAL, VSU INTERN


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