Death toll rises to 5 in vessel, fuel tanker burning in Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The number of casualties in the burning of a wooden-hulled vessel and a fuel tanker has increased to five with four survivors, officials said Tuesday.

This came about as the personnel of the Zamboanga Coastguard Station has completed the search and retrieval operations at the Ben Go Wharf in Barangay Baliwasan, where the incident occurred.

Lt. Commander Alvin Dagalea, Zamboanga Coastguard Station commander, identified the fatalities as Rasdy Imlan, 24, chief mechanic; Abidin Mansul, the assistant of Imlan; Munsamir Sadjael, 18; Sidim Tingkahan, 15; Muhammad Amsadila, 36.

The charred remains of the victims were retrieved by coastguard divers Tuesday morning.

The survivors, who were taken to the hospital, were identified as Ardi Jumdain, Asin Nur, Andung Sali (not Sal as earlier reported) and Alsid Sali. They were able to jump overboard when the vessel caught fire.

Supt. Ariel Huesca, Police Station 11 chief, on Tuesday said the vessel, M/L Satellite, caught fire at around 8 p.m. Monday when Imlan switched on the generator while they were filling up around 100 drums of gasoline and 10 gallons of diesel from a parked fuel tanker.

He said the fuel tanker also caught fire aside from the cargo vessel. Both the tanker and vessel were burned and destroyed.

The driver of the fuel tanker, Leonardo Benson, survived as he managed to jump before the blaze engulfed the vehicle.

The responding firemen, led by Chief Insp. Clint Cha, Zamboanga City Fire District (ZCFD) marshal, contained the fire at around 10 p.m. Monday.

The incident occurred while the vessel was set to depart for Jolo, Sulu on Monday night. Ely Dumaboc/PNA-northboundasia.com