MANILA, Philippines – An Ivatan fisherman, who has been missing for 7 days and whom relatives feared was dead, was found safe in Japan.
Julio Balanoba, 48, was found off the Ryukyu Islands, according to a statement released by Budget Secretary Butch Abad, who is also from Batanes.
Batanes Represetative Henedina Abad, the budget secretary’s wife, heard the news through the Philippine Coast Guard as relayed by Philippine Consul-General to Japan Joy Tirol.
Balanoba was already on his way back to Basco, Batanes, from a fishing trip to the Babuyan Islands area when his engine stalled after his clothes got caught in his boat’s motor engine. He was badly cut and had injuries on his legs.
The Ivatan fisherman survived on rain water, bananas, and watermelon he had collected from Babuyan Island. Balanoba drifted for days before he was recovered by the Japanese Coast Guard.
“Except for his leg injuries, which had been operated on, he sounded weak but fine and was anxious to see his family and return to home,” said Representative Abad. Balanoba was found in an Okinawa hospital, around 860 kilometers away from Basco.
Philippine embassy officials and Abad are working on Balanoba’s return to the Philippines. – Rappler.com