Six more bodies recovered following Philippine lake boat tragedy

Rescuers work to locate passengers who may have become trapped in the overturned passenger boat Princess Aya after it capsized in Laguna Lake in Rizal province, Philippines, on July 27, 2023. (Photo: Philippine Coast Guard)

The Philippine Coast Guard reports that the bodies of six occupants of a passenger boat that capsized in bad weather in the Philippine province of Rizal late last week have been found, raising the incident’s death toll to 27.

The bodies were located as part of the ongoing search and rescue/recovery (SAR) effort following the capsizing of the banca-type outrigger boat Princess Aya in Laguna Lake just off Rizal’s Binangonan municipality on Thursday, July 27.

The capsizing occurred as the area was experiencing strong winds and rough waves brought about by Typhoon Doksuri as it moved northwards in the South China Sea just off Luzon Island.

Investigators said that the bad weather had caused panic among some of the passengers, compelling them all to move to one side of the boat. One of the outriggers then snapped as it was unable to withstand the sudden significant increase in weight, and this caused the boat to overturn shortly afterwards.

Personnel from the coast guard, the Philippine National Police, and other partner agencies initially pulled 21 deceased individuals and 40 survivors from the surrounding waters.

The SAR effort was temporarily halted due to deteriorating visibility on Thursday evening but was resumed the following morning, leading to the recovery of the six additional bodies. Another three names were meanwhile added to the list of survivors, raising the total to 43.

The coast guard said that the boat was cleared to carry a maximum of 42 passengers besides the three crewmembers and that only 22 names were listed on the manifest at the time of the incident.

Local newspaper The Philippine Daily Inquirer said both the coast guard and the national police will conduct separate investigations into the tragedy.

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