ZAMBOANGA CITY – Four sand quarry workers were killed and two others are missing after the truck they were riding was swept by a strong river current in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte, police said.
Senior Police Officer 2 Reczim Daquipil, one of those who were dispatched to search for the workers, said the incident occurred on Monday afternoon in Dapitan River. He said four of the victims were recovered in Dapitan City following a massive search.
Two other victims — truck driver Federico Calunsag and Ruth Pactorayan — are missing, although an unconfirmed report said that Calunsag’s body was found, Daquipil said.
He identified those retrieved as Lilia Ellobido, Joana Tuse; truck helper Ihid Pioco and Jun Obordo. He said some of them were his neighbors.
“It was really tragic. The truck was returning to the shore when its engine stalled and a sudden surge of water swept it away. All those in the truck were also swallowed by the river,” he told The Manila Times by phone from La Libertad.
The 15-kilometer stretch of the river on the side of the town is dotted by quarries, a means of livelihood for villagers. It is unknown, however, whether municipal officials approved this or not. AL JACINTO