The Philippine Navy on Friday found two bodies of missing passengers of a boat that capsized in the sea off Bakungan Island in Patikul, Sulu last Thursday.
The Naval Forces Western Mindanao identified the fatalities as Hja Suhula Radjuli, 70, and Sitti Kalasahan Radjuli, 33.
The Navy rescued a total of 17 passengers, including a 1-year-old child. The child, assisted by another survivor, floated for more than two hours before they were rescued.
Those rescued were on a boat named "Friendly" which capsized when it encountered bad weather at sea off Bakungan Island.
Col. Hernanie Songano, commander of NTG-Sulu and 4th Marine Brigade, said they responded to a report on Thursday that a boat, "M/L Putli Dahiran", was in distress somewhere in the waters off Bangas Island, Panglima Tahil, Sulu, with passengers on board.
But while the Navy vessel was on its way to conduct search and rescue operations, they discovered the capsized "Friendly" boat.
Three passengers, including the child, were initially rescued. The 14 other passengers were rescued the following day.
Reports show that the boat came from Port Holand, Maluso, Basilan, and was on its way to Jolo, Sulu.
The rescued passengers were brought to the headquarters of Naval Task Group Sulu for proper medical attention and COVID-19 screening.
Meanwhile, M/L Putli Dahiran was able to revive its engine at sea and brought its passengers and crew to safety. It was brought to the pier on Bangas Island with the help of local fishermen, the Navy said.
“I commend the concerted efforts of the sailors, marines, and concerned citizens for their acts of bravery and kindness, as they were courageous enough to embrace the dangers that lie ahead just to save others," said Col. Songano.
- Report from Leizel Lacastesantos