Ormoc News – At least 38 people including children are now confirmed dead when a wooden-hulled motorized banca bound for Camotes Island sank off Ormoc bay around 12 noon Thursday.
The ill-fated vessel carrying 173 passengers allegedly sank after one of its outriggers broke about a hundred meters away from the Ormoc seaport.
Jason Borinaga of Barangay San Juan, Pilar, Camotes Island told Visayan Business Post that the 33-ton M/V Kim Nirvana-B was backing away from the port and trying to manoeuvre when it capsized prompting him and many other passengers to jump into the rough, cold waters.
‘I went under the vessel and tried to swim up to the surface but it was difficult because the seawater was cold and dark’, said Borinaga, 31 one of the survivors.
Borinaga’s elder sister Josefina Florentino, 57 was not immediately able to pull up to the surface. Her body was one of the 38 dead recovered by the Philippine Coast Guard rescue unit hours later. The bodies of the victims were brought to various hospitals in Ormoc.
Borinaga said the vessel was fully loaded with people, sacks of rice, cement, and fertilizer.
One hundred fifteen passengers were rescued while 20 others are still unaccounted for according to the latest information from the Philippine Coast Guard.
The survivors said that the boat’s crew were not able to distribute life jackets to the passengers before it set off.
The double-decked, 27 meter long M/V Kim Nirvana-B is registered under the name of Joje Bung Zarco of Pilar, Camotes Island based on records of the Maritime Industry Authority.
The captain of the boat and its crew are now under the custody of the PCG.