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13 Bataan fishers missing in Reed Bank sea accident


MARIVELES, Bataan: Mayor Jocelyn Castañeda of this town on Tuesday appealed to government and other agencies to help in the search and rescue operations for 13 fishermen who remain missing after strong winds and rough seas sank their fishing boat at the Reed Bank in Palawan last Wednesday.

Of the 14 crew members of the fishing boat, 3 Sisters-2, Castañeda said, only one was saved by a passing fishing boat.

She identified the survivor as Angelito Epetito Jr.

Still missing are Ronilo Epetito, 31; Boby Gabales, 32; Christian Gabales, 28; Dondon Narciso, 22; Jerry Mantaring, 27; Jerry Villaruel, 26; Ariel Epetito, 30; Frederick Falogme, 33; Jeffrey Abayin, 21; Almar Benocan, 32; Ruel Guico, 19; Joel Negrido, 39; and boat captain Laureano de los Santos, 55. All are from Barangay Sisiman in Mariveles.

Marichel Barraca, secretary of the Sisiman Fishing Operators Association Inc., said the incident, according to the survivor, started at 3 a.m. of November 6.

She added that other fishing boats had apparently sought shelter.

Leonisa de los Santos said she last saw her husband, also a boat captain and owner of 3 Sisters-2 last October 28, when the group left to fish at the Reed Bank and that she heard of the tragedy on November 7.

“Malakas ang loob ko na buhay pa sila (I still think that they are alive),” Leonisa said of her husband and the other missing fishermen.

She added that her husband had been fishing since 1985.

“Nananawagan ako sa gobyerno na sana ma-rescue silang lahat. Helicopter sana ang gamitin para makita silang lahat. Magkakamag-anak, pamangkin sila. Malapit ng mag-Pasko, dapat makapiling namin silang lahat (I am calling on the government to rescue them. I think the government should send a helicopter to look for them. They are relatives, nephews. Christmas is near, we should be together),” Leonisa said in tears.


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