- Three Filipino teachers from Al Ain confirmed dead after a boat capsized in central Philipines
- They were part of a bigger group taking a holiday in Boracay island
- Others had been rescued
Dubai: Rescuers recovered more bodies in rough seas where three ferry boats capsized after being buffeted by fierce winds and waves off two central Philippine provinces, bringing the death toll to 31 with three missing, the coast guard said Sunday.
Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said the dead were mostly passengers of two ferries that flipped over in sudden wind gusts and powerful waves Saturday off Guimaras and Iloilo provinces.
96total number of passengers and crew on board the 3 boats that capsized in bad weather on Saturday in central Philippines.
There were a total of 96 passengers and crew on board the three boats. Sixty-two passengers and crew were rescued.
62Number of passengers and crew rescued
Survivors recounted how the sky suddenly turned dark midway through their trip, followed by strong winds and rain that battered their ferries.
'MB Keziah': 4 crewmen and 40 passengers. The Coast Guard said there were 22 survivors, 20 casualties and two still missing (as of late Sunday).
'MB Jenny Vince': 5 crew members. It was not carrying any passengers; capsized in Iloilo Strait; all five crewmen survived.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said it is still validating information on the actual number of fatalities coming from other agencies, including the Coast Guard and the Western Visayas police.
Authorities wondered why a third ferry was allowed to sail about three hours after two other ferries overturned almost at the same time at noon in bad weather.
Forecasters have warned of heavy monsoon rains, thunderstorms and rain-triggered landslides amid a tropical depression more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) off the country's eastern coast.
Classes and work were suspended in metropolitan Manila on Friday and Saturday amid heavy rains and flooding, which caused intense traffic jams in low-lying areas of the capital.
About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, making the archipelago that lies on the Pacific typhoon and earthquake belt one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. (AP)
Death toll rises
The death toll from the capsized ferry boats in the Philippines has risen to 26, according to local media.
The bodies of two UAE-based teachers were among those retrieved. “The body of Ms Eden (was found) floating in a nearby island along with boat debris,” Volt C. Vizconde, who teaches at a private school in Al Ain, told Gulf News.
Passengers mostly from 2 ferries
Philippine police say rescuers have plucked more bodies in rough seas where three ferry boats capsized after being buffeted by fierce wind and waves off two central provinces, bringing the death toll to 25 with six missing.
Regional police spokesman Joem Javier says the dead were mostly passengers of two ferries that flipped over in sudden gusts of wind and powerful waves Saturday off Guimaras and Iloilo provinces. Fifty-five other passengers and crew were rescued.
Javier said Sunday a third ferry, which was not carrying any passenger, also capsized in the Iloilo Strait but its four crewmen survived.
Forecasters have warned of heavy monsoon rains, thunderstorms and rain-triggered landslides amid a tropical depression more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) off the country's eastern coast. (AP)
UAE-based teachers among victims
Three Filipino teachers based in Al Ain were among those who drowned after their boat capsized in central Philippines in bad weather, Gulf News can exclusively reveal.
Philippine authorities reported on Saturday at that least 19 people were killed while three others remain missing after the inter-island ferries either turned over or sank in rough seas, strong winds and heavy rain while taking passengers between two islands.
The toll has since been revised.
As of Sunday, the Coast Guard reported that the death toll had risen to 26 while a number of others were still missing.
Gulf News confirmed as of Sunday noon that the three UAE-based Filipino teachers were among those who drowned. They all work for a private school in Al Ain, part of Abu Dhabi. They were on holiday in their home country and went on a group tour to the world-famous Boracay island.
Volt C. Vizconde, who also teaches at the same private school in Al Ain and is currently on holiday with his family in the Philippines, told Gulf News: "Bale lahat ng Pinoy teachers sa school magkakasama sa bakasyon sa Boracay (all Filipino teachers in our school went together on a holiday in Boracay)."
The island is known for its world-famous natural white-sand beach off the northwest corner of Panay, and belongs to the country's Western Visayas island-group.
Vizconde first confirmed that one his colleagues, Andrew Valenzuela, was among those who drowned and the body recovered by local authorities.
Two other colleagues who were missing until Saturday night were found on Sunday and were identified as Eden Perales and Jaquelyn Alferez.
Vizconde and his wife, Alex, who is also a teacher in Al Ain, didn't go with the group as they have an infant.
"I think they were already on their way home when the tragedy happened," added Vizconde. It was not immediately clear how many UAE-based teachers joined the Boracay group.
Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo was quoted by Philippine media as saying that one of the ferry boats, M/B Chichi, was carrying at least 42 passengers.
Another boat, M/B Keizha, reportedly had four crewmen on board, while the third ferry, M/B Jenny, carried an unspecified number of people who were rescued and brought on board a coast guard ship.
Forecasters have warned of heavy monsoon rains and thunderstorms amid a brewing storm about 875 kilometers (544 miles) off the country's eastern coast.
About 20 typhoons and storms hammer the Philippines each year, making the archipelago that lies on the Pacific typhoon and earthquake belt one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world.