40 passengers, crew rescued as passenger boat capsizes off Romblon

By Aaron Recuenco

At least 40 passengers and crew of a motorized passenger boat nearly drowned after the vessel rammed big rocks after being hit by strong waves off the waters of San Jose town of Romblon.

But Supt. Socrates Faltado, spokesman of the MIMAROPA (Mindoro Occidental and Oriental, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) regional police, said that all the passengers were rescued due to timely response of Coast Guard and local police.

"Fishermen also rushed into the area while the other passengers who know how to swim also helped in the rescue," said Faltado.

He said the vessel was on its way to Santa Fe also in Romblon from San Jose port when the incident happened at around 6:30 a.m. yesterday.

But while maneuvering at the port, the vessel suffered engine failure and this resulted in the vessel being stalled.

"Due to the strong current and waves, the said banca was pushed to the shallow waters and smashed against the big rocks that eventually damaged the hull," said Faltado.

The official said that all the passengers were subjected to medical checkup.

The owner of the vessel, on the other hand, was invited by Coast Guard authorities for questioning on the worthiness of the passenger vessel.