Passengers and crew of the motor banca after sank near the Calbayog City port in Samar wait for rescuers on Monday (August 12, 2019). Strong winds batter the banca a few minutes after it left the port.  All 49 passengers and seven crew members were safely rescued. (Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard)

Tacloban City – Just a few weeks after three motorized bancas capsized in the Iloilo-Guimaras strait in August 3, another motorized banca capsized, but this time, near the port of Calbayog City in Samar on Monday, August 12.  Fortunately, all 49 passengers and seven crew members were safely rescued.

“The banca was just 100 meters away from the seaport when strong winds and big waves struck the boat, submerging half of it,” Lt. Junior Grade Wilky Homer Saga, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard in Samar said in a phone interview with the Philippine News Agency.

Saga said the boat left the port past 11 in the morning bound for Tagapul-an town. There was no forecast of any weather disturbance in the area but strong winds suddenly battered the boat.

The rescue team composed of the Coast Guard Station Samar Quick Response Team, City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Philippine National Police Maritime Group, and Lite Ferries swiftly rescued all passengers and crew and ferried them all to Calbayog City.  No one was seriously hurt.

The local coast guard and police are still investigating the incident.

The island of  Tagapul-an can only be reached through a three-hour trip by a motor banca from Calbayog City. (Rommel F. Lopez with PNA)