AKLAN, Philippines – Four men drowned while trying to rescue each other in a well in New Washington town in this province on Thursday, April 25.
Firefighters and emergency rescuers were called to a secluded area of Sitio Proper in Barangay Lawaan, New Washington town, to retrieve the trapped men Thursday morning.
The well was filled with murky water when the rescue team arrived to retrieve brothers Jodel and Rene Felizardo, aged 47 and 42, respectively; their cousin Darwin Cuesta, 47; and Herminio Bantang, a resident of Barangay Bubog, Numancia, Aklan.
The well was beside the fishpond owned by the Felizardo family.
Prior to the drowning incident, two of the victims – Rene and Bantang – installed a submersible water pump in the well to remove excess water.
Police said Desiderio Nabayra, who was assisting the two at the time, told them that Bantang noticed that the water in the well had gone down so he went in using an improvised “ladder” made of metal pipes to check it.
When Rene noticed that the water was rising again, he signaled to Bantang to get out.
Unfortunately, Bantang slipped and sank into the well, said Staff Sergeant Rolan de Mateo, New Washington police station investigator.
De Mateo said that according to Nabayra, Rene went in to rescue Bantang but Rene slipped and sank into the well too.
When Rene did not emerge from the well, Jodel and Cuesta went in one after the other to attempt to rescue them but they too did not come out.
Rescuers from the municipal and provincial disaster risk reduction and management offices and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) pulled out Cuesta at around 12:15 pm, followed by Jodel and Bantang. Rene was the last to be retrieved at 4:30 pm, ending the 7-hour operation.
The victims were brought to the Aklan provincial hospital in Kalibo but were declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.
Police said they would also investigate how the well, built two years ago, managed to operate without proper permits. – Rappler.com