Legazpi city, June 14 (PNA) – At least 40 survivors and two dead persons who were aboard a passenger-cargo vessel that sank in the waters of Burias Pass early morning today have been retrieved by search and rescue operatives starting at about 7 a.m. today, according to a report of the Masbate Provincial Police Office as of 11 a.m.
Supt. Heriberto Olitoquit identified one dead person as Carlita Sena, 59, of Baleno, Masbate. The second female fatality is Erlinda Julditado from Pasig City.
The survivors are now being treated at the Aroroy Hospital in Aroroy town in Masbate, the report said.
Another report from the Pio Duran Municipal Police Office said the MV Lady of Mt. Carmel, a roll-on roll-off vessel of the Medallion Shipping Lines, left the port of Pio Duran, Albay, at about 2:20 a.m. today with 66 passengers on board two air-conditioned buses of the Isarog Lines and one six-wheeler Isuzu truck and 22 crewmen.
Its engine reportedly stopped about one nautical mile off the lighthouse in Barangay Penafrancia, Burias island.
It added that due to big waves, the ropes that tied the buses and the truck loosened, causing the vehicles to go to one side.
The weight of three vehicles caused the RORO boat to tilt on its side and sink.
Boat captain Laurio Mateo immediately made a distress call that reached the Philippine Coast Guard in Masbate and the Naval Forces for Southern Luzon (Navforsol).
Commodore Manuel Natalio Abinunan, Navforsol commanding officer, immediately instructed the command’s unit in Pasacao, Camarines Sur, to send a rescue Navy boat to the area.
The Office of Civil Defense and the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office also immediately sent their search and rescue teams in the area. (PNA) By Edison Aganan and Connie B. Destura