Aquino orders speedy probe into Ormoc boat tragedy

Aquino orders speedy probe into Ormoc boat tragedy
Malacañang says the 'thorough' government investigation will look into all angles of the incident, including possible overloading and the technical skills of the boat captain and crew

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III has ordered a speedy investigation into the boat tragedy off the coast of Leyte which claimed at least 40 lives.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino expects a comprehensive probe on the incident involving motor boat Kim Nirvana, which capsized about half an hour after it departed from the port of Ormoc City in Leyte, on Thursday, July 2.

“We expect a thorough investigation on the part of the PCG to find out what caused the incident,” she said.

Valte said the Philippine Coast Guard has deployed a Maritime Casualty Investigation Team to look into the possible causes of the tragedy, including “possible overloading, capability of the captain and its officers, load capacity of the vessels, and others.”

Malacañang condoled with the families of the victims and assured them of a quick and fair probe. 

“We mourn with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the incident and assure them a speedy and objective investigation,” Valte said in a text message to reporters. 

As of Friday early afternoon, the Philippine Coast Guard placed the death toll at 40. There were a total of 189 people on the boat – 173 passengers and 16 crew members.

Rescued passengers have blamed overloading as the cause of the accident, saying that the boat was loaded with construction materials. They also complained that they were not provided with life vests.  (READ: Ormoc boat passenger: ‘I should’ve listened to my wife’) 

The boat was also reportedly allowed to sail despite rough seas. Authorities, however, noted that there was no gale warning to prevent the boat’s voyage. – Rappler.com

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