BACOLOD: SEARCH STILL ON FOR 34 MISSING PASSENGERS OF SUNK VESSEL

BACOLOD CITY, NOVEMBER 19,  2003   (STAR) By Rolly Espina — Now, it seems that there were a total of 34 missing passengers aboard the M/L Susan that left Sipalay City last Nov. 13 and sank off Cuyo Island in Palawan the following day.

A surviving crew member earlier said there were 19 others on board the vessel, mostly residents of Hinobaan and Cauayan towns in southern Negros Occidental.

Arvic Galea, 35, one of the five survivors recovered by fishermen off Antique, said he was not sure if their fellow passengers were still alive. The last time he saw them, he told radio broadcasters, they were on a life raft like him.

When they left Sipalay City, Galea said, the boat had 200 sacks of salt on board, destined for Palawan.

Last Friday, he said water started seeping into the wooden vessel. The passengers were then asked to put on life jackets made of plywood and foam.

The boat, Galea said, took three hours to sink.

Bernabe Ganancial, the boat’s owner, remained on board when the five survivors got on their life boat. He is among those listed as missing.

"He told us to save ourselves and send back rescuers," Galea said.

Huge waves spawned by typhoon "Weng" buffeted the vessel.

The Sipalay City disaster coordinating council has dispatched three pumpboats to scour the sea for the missing passengers of M/L Susan.

Negros Occidental Gov. Joseph Maranon has asked local government units to help in the search and rescue operation.

Aside from Galea, the rescued passengers were Evelyn Galea, Epifanio Canago and Epifania Canupin, all of Sipalay City, and Rodrigo Gepelgon.

The Sipalaynons still missing were identified as Milagros Demigillo, Renante Barcoma, Luisito Nataliao, Remita Noble and her son Negros, Virginita Delamera, Suplicio de la Mar, Noel Canupin, Ganancial (the boat owner), Susan, Eduardo, Boy and Junjun Abiolate, and Mariano Himaya.

The missing Cauayan residents, meanwhile, were identified as Julio de la Concepcion, his wife Fedelina and their children Lani, Jonafe, Bitay, Eska and Agol; Julito’s brother Totong de la Concepcion, Roger Campos, and Ivy Mendoza and her children Richard and Irene.

The other missing passengers were identified as Ronnie Ereneo and Rona Ereneo, both from Hinobaan town; and Leopoldo Galido, Rommel Gamilong and a certain Loreto, all from Guimaras. The last three remain unidentified.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2003  by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE