DFA checking if Pinoy among casualties in ship's safety drill

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2013 04:48 PM | Updated as of Feb 12 2013 12:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Embassy in Spain is still verifying reports that a Filipino died during a cruise ship's emergency drill in the Canary Islands, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, the DFA's spokesperson, said the embassy does not have the identity of the victim at this time.

“Our Philippine Embassy in Madrid, which has jurisdiction over the Canary Islands, is already aware of the incident and of the news reports,” he told reporters in a briefing on Monday.

“But they would like to verify these reports with the local authorities in the Canary Islands,” added Hernandez.

Hernandez said the DFA will release information about the victim once the verification is complete.

News reports say a Filipino, along with 3 Indonesians and Ghanaian, died while aboard a lifeboat that plunged 65 feet to the sea during a mock rescue exercise of the cruise ship, Thomson Majesty.

The boat was docked in the port of the capital in La Palma, Santa Cruz, which Hernandez said is 3 to 4 hours away by plane from Spain.