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23 die in Laguna Lake mishap

Banca capsizes near Binangonan shore; 40 rescued, says PCG

LAKE TRAGEDY. In these screengrabs from a news broadcast, fishermen and local rescuers scramble to save the passengers of the motorboat Princess Aya, which capsized in Laguna Lake off the waters of Binangonan, Rizal on Thursday. The Coast Guard confirmed at least 23 casualties, including women and children.

A motorized boat capsized in Laguna Lake off Binangonan, Rizal on Thursday, killing 23 people with six others missing, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

The accident occurred in the early afternoon near the northern shore of Laguna de Bay after Typhoon “Egay” had swept out of the northern Philippines, PCG spokesman Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said (see related story — Editors).

“What happened was they panicked after a sudden gust of wind. They ran to the left side and the boat capsized,” Balilo told Teleradyo TV in an interview.

The small passenger boat “Princess Aya” was making its regular run from the town of Binangonan to the island of Talim in the middle of the lake, Kenneth Cirados, a rescue official in the municipality, told Agence France-Presse.

Rescuers retrieved the 23 bodies from the water, including women and children, with 40 survivors, he added.

Hours after the accident, rescuers and local fishermen were still scouring the lake off the coast of Barangay Kalinawan for the six people still missing, Cirados said.

Authorities said the passenger boat was about 45 meters from land when it was hit by strong winds, causing the passengers to panic and move to one side.

The mishap struck hours after Egay left the Philippine area of responsibility, battering the country with strong winds and heavy rainfall.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, has a poor maritime safety record, with scores dying in mishaps at sea each year, usually aboard wooden-hulled outriggers used for fishing or to move people from one small island to another. With AFP

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