At least 28 South Korean students and two Cebu fishermen were rescued after their motor banca got stalled in big waves off Mactan island that was caused by the southwest monsoon yesterday.
The South Korean students left barangay Punta Engano, Lapu-Lapu City at 9 a.m. for island-hopping.
The boat operator was able to send small boats to fetch the passengers and crew, said PO2 Erwin Sinadajan of the Lapu-Lapu City police.
Why the motorbanca Eris 3 was allowed to sail in bad weather at the height of typhoon Gener will be the subject of an investigation by the Philippine Coast Guard.
The Eris 3 was also an undocumented boat, said Capt. Anelito Gabisan, deputy commander of the Coast Guard Central Visayas District, who ordered the inquiry.
He said they will look into possible charges of reckless imprudence resulting to damage to properties.
The Eris 3 was towed back to the Hilton wharf, with signs of damage. The waves tore a hole in the hull, causing the engine to stall.
Boat owner Pedro Augusto said another boat boarded by 15 South Koreans was also damaged as it collided with another boat while at the wharf.
The Cebu Coast Guard office said it will summon Augusto for investigation and issue a maritime violation against the company.
The foreign students left the Hilton wharf in sitio Malingin, barangay Punta Engaño and were headed for sitio Mangal in the remotest part of the barangay to go swimming when they were hit by waves. The engine stalled.
In the northern town of Daanbantayan, strong waves battered several fishermen who sailed off Guintarcan Island last Monday.
About four fishermen were rescued while five others remained missing in separate boat accidents.
Two of the rescued fishermen were part of a group of seven fishermen reported missing since Monday afternoon.
In the Korean outing, police said the boat captain Randy Dabatos immediately asked assistance from the management of Eris 3.
The operator sent small boats to rescue the passengers before their vessel submerged.
According to Dabatos, he manueverd the motorized boat near the shore, so it sank in a shallow area of the sea. The boat was later towed back to Mactan.
All South Korean visitors were safe and did not need medical attention.
The boat was totally wrecked. Also rescued was fellow Filipino crew member Jundy Cabardo.
The Korean passengers were brought to Augusto’s resort and served coffee.
Augusto said they earlier advised their clients that they couldn’t cross Hilutungan channel to Olango island as big waves may hit their vessel.
“We told them that they could set sail for sitio Mangal point in Punta Engaño, then they return to the Hilton pier for lunch,” Augusto said.
In Bantayan Island, barangay captain Marcos Gilbuena of Bitoon, Guintarcan Island reported the disappearance of seven fishermen since last Monday afternoon.
Guintarcan Island is part of Sta. Fe town, Bantayan Island.
Two of the rescued fishermen identified as Rudy Baro and Ramon Beringuel of barangay Bitoon reportedly drifted to Carnasa, an islet barangay of Daanbantayan town.
Police identified the four missing fishermen as Benjie Sinatad, Tata Ponteras, a certain “Tata” and “Manuel”, all from Guintarcan Island. The fifth fisherman had yet to be identified.
The 40-year-old Baro and the 45-year-old Beringuel were on one small boat while the other five fishermen rode on a bigger pumpboat.
Gulbuena said the seven fishermen were near Tanguingi Islet until they were buffeted by strong waves.
With their supplies gone, Baro and Beringuel were forced to cross the rough seas from Tanguingi islet to Guintarcan Island at 11 a.m. last Monday, Gilbuena said.
Gilbuena said he just learned about the fate of the seven fishermen from the other fishermen who returned to Bitoon hours after leaving Tanguingi.
Baro and Beringuel were rescued by a fisherman who passed by Carnasa islet.
Carnasa barangay captain Joe Moreno said Baro and Beringuel were in good condition and are staying in a councilor’s house.
He said the boat of the two fishermen conked out while crossing the waters between Tanguingi and Guintarcan.
Gilbuena said they are still waiting on the reports on the fate of the other five fishermen.
Punzalan said the Coast Guard in Bantayan Island tried to search for them but were held back by the rough sea.
Gilbuena also reported that a father and his son-in-law identified only as Wilson and Dodong respectively were also rescued by a passing fisherman after their pumpboat conked out between Quintarcan and Tanguingi islets last Monday.
Punzalan said conventional vessels headed to Bohol, Dumaguete City, Masbate, Samar and Manila were cleared to sail while Dipolog, Siquijor and Leyte are still off limits due to rough waters.
All fastcrafts are still barred to sail, affecting passengers for Tagbilaran City and Tubigon in Bohol. /Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent with Reporter Rhea Ruth V. Rosell and Correspondent Norman V. Mendoza