Coast guard rescues 14 passengers from submerged boat in El Nido

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan — Coast Guard personnel in El Nido rescued 14 crew and tourist passengers of a motorboat that submerged Sunday morning off Hidden Beach, Matinloc Island after it was inundated with seawater due to strong waves.

A spot report released Monday to the local media by the Coast Guard Substation (CGSS) under El Nido Deputy Commander Ensign Harvey Marmol showed a search and rescue operation was immediately ordered to the area around 10:30 a.m. Sunday to look for motorboat “Tameboy” with 10 foreign tourists and four crewmen.

The search and rescue team swam to the shoreline of the beach and found all of them stranded with no sustained injuries. The motorboat was submerged in seawater.

The tourist passengers were composed of five Brazilians, four Australians and a Portuguese national.

Motorboat captain Jessie Ebajon narrated that after dropping anchor near the beach, the line that was tied to the shank got cut off due to rough sea condition.

The motorboat then drifted to the rocky shore and eventually submerged, but all of them managed to swim to the shore.

Meanwhile, asked why the boat was not prevented from leaving mainland El Nido when the sea condition was not favorable, Marmol said the suspension of trips is only done under storm signal number 1.

“As per Memorandum Circular 02-13, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is only allowed to suspend trips or island hopping when Signal No. 1 is raised by PAGASA. In this case, no typhoon signal had been raised,” he said. Celeste Anna Formoso/PNA-northboundasia.com