Survivor recounts Quezon ferry fire tragedy

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2022 02:17 PM

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MANILA – A survivor of the Quezon ferry tragedy recounted Tuesday her experience aboard the ill-fated MV Mercraft 2, saying she and her companions jumped off the vessel despite having no life jackets.

Itzel Madrinan said they were on the upper part of the ferry on Monday morning when she heard shouting coming from the lower deck.

“Ako po ay tumayo at akala ko po ay lumilindol gawa ng, noon pong pagtayo ko’y tumalikod po ako at tiningnan ko kung ano po yung nandoon sa likudan at nagsisisgawan po. Ngayon po, ang nakita ko ay usok na kulay itim po,” she said.

“Kaya po kami kaagad ay nagtabi at doon po kami lumusot sa bintana para po kami lumabas. Ang sabi po ng mga tao sa loob, hindi ko lang po alam kung crew o kung sino po yung nagsabi na, ‘wag po kaming mag-panic. Paano po kami hindi magpa-panic, yun pong usok ay dito na po malapit sa amin.”

Madrinan said she then asked her mother-in-law and her 7-year-old nephew to jump with her. 

“Wala po kaming nakita, lahat po kaming tumalon ay para pong wala kaming nakitang lahat na life jacket. Tapos nakita ko po, yung dalawang RORO (roll-on-roll-of vessels), maigi na lang po at nadodoon sa may kalapit namin sila po ay po yung naghagis ng life jacket.”

She said they were floating for about 20 minutes before government rescuers came for them.

“Nakita na po namin na may naghahagis na po talaga ng mga life jacket. At nabuhayan po ako ng loob nang nandoon na po yung RORO na dalawa, magkabilang-gilid po silang nagsasagip sa mga taong nasa dagat.”

Daughter of ferry fire victim grieves

Meanwhile, Shiela May Devilles-Villaflor is mourning her father, Crisanto Devilles, who died in the incident. He was 51.

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Villaflor said her father, mother, and two children were headed from Polilio to Laguna to visit an ailing relative.

He knew how to swim, but must have suffered a heart attack when the fire happened, she said. 

Her mother and her kids survived the tragedy.

“’Yun pong panganay ko marunong pero yung bunso ko hindi. Yun nga po yung dala-dala ng papa ko nung siya ay utay-utay na nandodoon,” she said.

“Hanggang ngayon nga po, yung anak ko ay tulala.”

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo has said that the investigation on the ferry fire may take up to a week.

Palace condoles with families of victims

Malacanang expressed its sympathies to families of the seven people who died.

"Nagpapaabot po ng pakikiramay ang Malacanang sa mga taong nawalan ng mahal sa buhay dahil sa trahedyang nangyari... sa Real sa probinsya ng Quezon kung saan isang passenger vessel ang nasunog," acting Palace spokesman Martin Andanar said.

"Ipinapalangin din namin ang mabilis na paggaling ng mga pasaherong nasugatan dahil sa insidenteng ito,” he added.

“Ayon sa Philippine Coastguard, lahat ng mga pasahero at crew members are all accounted for. Gumugulong na ang imbestigasyon para maliwanagan ang lahat sa nangyari."

Aside from the fatalities, 24 were injured and 127 others were rescued.

- with report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

--TeleRadyo, 24 May 2022