The Philippine Coast Guard conduct rescue operations after three boats sank off Iloilo-Guimaras Strait on Saturday, August 3, 2019. (Photo by Dumangas MDRRMO)

The death toll in the capsizing of three pump boats off the Iloilo-Guimaras Strait on Saturday (August 3) has risen to 31 as search and retrieval operations continue, according to the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).

The victims were passengers of M/V Chi-Chi and M/V Jenny Vince. The third boat to sink, M/V Keziah 2, did not have any casualties.

M/B Chi-chi had 37 survivors, while 11 died and one remain missing. The M/B Jenny Vince had 22 survivors, 20 dead and two missing.

The first two motorboats sank at about 12 p.m. Saturday en route to Guimaras from Iloilo City, while M/B Jenny Vince went down at about 3:30 pm.

“Our search, rescue and retrieval operation is ongoing,” CDRRMO head Donna Magno said, adding that dead bodies were seen floating in Dumangas on Sunday morning.

“Many of the dead bodies have yet to be identified. They did not have identification when they were recovered,” Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Western Visayas district commander Commodore Allan dela Vega said.

He said an investigation would be conducted after the search and rescue operations, to see if the boats’ crew had committed lapses.

Civil Defense Regional Director Jose Roberto Nuñez said an investigation was launched to look into whether the boats’ crew committed any errors and why the boats were allowed to sail despite the bad weather. (Rommel F. Lopez)