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Two people drowned when a boat with over a dozen people onboard capsized due to rough waters off Sulu province, the Naval Task Group Sulu said on Saturday, July 17.
Lieutenant Chester Ross Cabaltera, spokesperson of the Naval Forces in Western Mindanao, said two bodies were found on Friday, July 16, by two fishermen who also rescued 14 passengers and crew of M/L Friendly which capsized off Bakungan Island in Patikul, Sulu.
Cabaltera said the fishermen and Navy personnel rescued on separate occasions a total of 17 people from two boats in the rough waters off Sulu since Thursday night, July 15.
First to be rescued was a family of three in a boat named M/L Putli Dahiran that drifted for hours in the waters off Bangas Island in Panglima Tahil, Sulu.
Naval Task Group Sulu and 4th Marine Brigade commander Colonel Hernanie Songano said a couple and their child – Amasher Abirin, Wahid Isa, and one-year-old Alkramier Unding – were in the boat that lost engine power shortly after it left the Jolo port.
After receiving a distress call, Songano said, the task group quickly dispatched a search and rescue team onboard a Multi-Purpose Attack Craft BA-485 that later found the boat that had been drifting at sea for hours.
Songano said another boat, M/L Friendly, capsized a nautical mile northeast off Bakungan Island in Patikul town, and two fishermen – brothers Usman and Sarahan Amman of Luuk, Sulu – rescued 14 people and found two bodies on Friday morning.
Those rescued were Kalma Hassan, Rosalyn Marajan Unding, Jomar Said, Nadzrin Morajan, Marsida Sarahan, Shermalyn Hamsanain, Pirusa Basri, Adilina Cuadra, Gloria Jumaadil, Jidy Sangkula, Misha Radjuli, Nijar Aribin, Jaime Lopez, and seven-year-old Nadjara Aramin.
Authorities identified those who died as 70-year-old Hja Suhula Radjuli, and Sitti Kalasahan Radjuli.
Inspector Jayson Ahijon, head of the Bureau of Fire Protection in Jolo, said M/L Friendly sent out a distress call as early as late Thursday afternoon.
One of the survivors said the boat left Zamboanga City shortly before noontime on Thursday, stopped over at Port Holland in Maluso in Basilan province, and then set sail toward the rough waters off Sulu. – Rappler.com