Nine students trapped by rampaging waters in Nueva Ecija rescued

GABALDON, Nueva Ecija — A team from the local police office and scout officials rescued nine students trapped by rampaging water on two rivers in a distant area of the eco park in Barangay North Poblacion here at about 1 a.m. Saturday.

The students, aged more or less 16, were participants in the provincial jamboree of boys and girls scouts being conducted at the eco park and participated in by some 2,000 students.

PO1 Micahel Durado, a rescuer, said the students were in deep hardship and engulfed with fear when they found after several hours of operations.

“They were chilling. Some were hungry, feeling week while others were crying,” Durado said.

The rescue operation was conducted after the 10th member of the group braved to cross the rivers and sought the help of scouting officials.

“One of the students got the nerve to cross the rivers and was able to went down to the camp site and reported the matter to the training staff,” Durado said, prompting officials to seek the help of the local police and the Philippine Army’s Charlie Company, 56th Infantry Battalion.

The high school students, seven from Little Merry Hearts Montessori Center and three from MV Gallego Foundation Colleges both in Cabanatuan City, were part of the about 2,000 scouts participating in the five-day provincial jamboree at the eco-park reportedly left the campsite unnoticed early afternoon Friday amid continuous rain pour.

They reportedly went to the popular water falls some three kilometers from the actual campsite which was not part of the camping activity.

The students were minors thus, their names were withheld.

Durado said they started crossing the strong current of first river at around 7 p.m. and and managed to reach the second one at about 9 p.m.

“We were able to cross the second river at past 10 p.m. ,” he said.

“They (students) were sitting and shielding in a big rock besides the rampaging water,” said Durado, adding that the students even cried more upon seeing them. “

“They thought nobody will be saved from them,”he added.

PO2 Darius Soriano, another rescuer, said the river might not be that deep when the students went to the water falls.

He said they have ropes of their own and of the scouting officials who went with them to rescue the students.

“It was really hard, too dark and the current of the river was so strong,” he said.

The students were brought back to their parents as the camping ended Saturday morning.

Aside from Durado and Soriano who served as rescuers, two other policemen namely PO2 Erickson Rodriguez and PO1 Dindo Romano helped in the successful operation as area security.

They all braved strong water current and difficult terrains in the middle of darkness and heavy rains. Marilyn Espiritu-Galang/