Cotabato City – Two riverboats collided last Saturday night in a channel of the Rio Grande de Mindanao in Sultan Kudarat Town resulting in the deaths of four people while one is still missing.

Bangsamoro Regional police authorities named the fatalities as Jomar Akir, Johaina Salem, Elmie Norodin, and Pude Guiarel, the skipper.

According to the official report, a passenger boat loaded with 10 persons en route to Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao collided with a speeding smaller pumpboat loaded with three persons at around 8:45 p.m. on Saturday.  People were thrown overboard due to the impact of the collision.

Only five of the passengers of the bigger boat were able to survive.  All three passengers of the smaller boat were held by the police for investigation.

The victims’ bodies were found floating by rescuers at the downstream stretch of the Rio Grande de Mindanao near the southwestern coast of this city.

Guiarel’s body was retrieved Monday covered by water hyacinth near the mouth of Rio Grande.

Officials are still searching for Sidik Esmael who is still missing.

Uztad Banjo Mampon, Sultan Kudarat municipal administrator, said the smaller boat collided with the bigger boat.

”It seems both did not have enough warning devices and lights,” he added.

Akir was a student of the Mindanao State University while Salem was from the Notre Dame Hospital School of Midwifery in Cotabato City.

Norodin, on the other hand, was an Islamic theologian who was involved in numerous community preaching activities.

Sultan Kudarat municipal police are still on the process of investigating the collision. (RJ Espartinez)