MANILA - A friend of the five sailors in the missing yacht from Hong Kong has dismissed reports about sighting of debris and a body in Philippine waters.
Jerry Rollin, who is also leading the search team for M/Yacht Europa that went missing off the coast of Laoag City, said ongoing search and rescue operations have yet to turn up new information on the whereabouts of the missing yacht.
“Nothing has been sighted yet. There have been various rumors that boats and people and lifejackets have been seen, but I’ve been in touch with the Hong Kong rescue center who is actually doing most of the searching and they confirmed that they have not confirmed anything yet,” Rollin said.
He added that the only thing certain so far is the intensified efforts to soon find the missing passengers even after losing the signal of the yacht's locating device.
“So at the moment what’s happening is that the Hong Kong rescue center, they brought an airplane in the area, they have had ships in the area looking and informed all ships passing through the area to keep a look out,” Rollin added.
The yacht was bound for Manila when it changed its course toward Subic Bay due to tropical storm "Kabayan."
Rollin said the sailors, namely Robin Wyatt, Brian Turner, Alan Lundy, Harry Taylor and Rodolf Bolloloz, were aware of the bad weather and were seasoned enough to deal with such situation, adding that the yacht was "fully-equipped."
“When they left Hong Kong, they knew of the storm, which at that time was a tropical depression, which was coming across the Philippines and was heading north toward Vietnam, that was the prediction. And when they left, they headed towards the northern end of Luzon in order to stay away from the storm," he said.
“All five are very, very experienced. They have done a number of crossings. Mister Taylor has brought his own boat across…I would have expected that they would have acted very well in the situation and knew what to do,” Rollin added
Rollin also said that the most important thing as of the moment is to keep the families and friends of the missing sailors updated and positive until the search yields results.
READ: Search continues for missing yacht from Hong Kong