MANILA (UPDATE) – The environment department on Friday announced the suspension of dragon boat races in Boracay following the death of 7 paddlers last Wednesday.
Dragon boat races and training will be suspended “until emergency protocols are thoroughly scrutinized,” said Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.
All agencies involved in emergency rescue and response are scheduled to meet on Sept. 30 to conduct a comprehensive assessment of protocols, logistics and resources, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said.
Seven members of a dragon boat team died Wednesday after their vessel sank in waters off Boracay island, Aklan.
Large waves swamped and overturned the wooden boat off one of the world's famous tropical holiday resort islands, on Wednesday, killing 4 male and 3 female rowers who were training for an international race, authorities earlier said.
The Filipino victims were training for the Kaohsiung City Cup scheduled in the southern Taiwanese city in November, said team member Remedy Aquino, who was not aboard the boat.
Members of the Boracay Dragon Boat Community lighted candles in honor of the dead paddlers.
Dragon boat racing is a popular sport in the Philippines and many parts of Asia, where 20 paddlers sit two abreast atop a long wooden 12-meter boat sandwiched by a cox who steers the vessel from the rear and a drummer in front.
– with reports from Jennifer Garcia Hernandez, ABS-CBN News and Agence France-Presse