PHOTO CAPTION: LUCKY TO BE FOUND. Lost at sea for almost a week, these two fishermen—(from left) Rico Norquia and Alexander Alagao—made it all the way to Mindanao in their battered sakayan and were rescued just in time. (Photos: Dionelo Bogtae)
BACOLOD CITY–Two fishermen from Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, survived at sea for six days by floating it out onboard their damaged fishing boat.
Alexander Alagao, 73; and Rico Norquia, 57, both residents of Barangay 5, were rescued in Zamboanga del Norte yesterday after they were sighted by some residents in the coastal waters of Sta. Maria, Siocon town.
Captain Ludovico Librilla Jr., provincial acting station commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), said both fishermen were reported missing on February 18, 2021, when they failed to go home after their pump boat F/B Best Friend encountered engine trouble. A prompt—but unsuccessful—search and rescue operation was then initiated by the Sipalay City DRRMO and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Sipalay sub-station.
Librilla said the damaged engine made it difficult for them to go back to land while strong water current and strong winds brought them to Mindanao.
Meanwhile, Executive Assistant Dionilo Bogtae, head of the Public Safety and Sipalay Emergency Assistance and Rescue Services (SEARS), said on the fifth day he received a phone call from Siocon town authorities that they had spotted the two fishermen alive and well in their boat.
Bogtae said he was able to talk to the two fishermen shortly after they were rescued, and they told him that they spent five days adrift in the Sulu Sea before the sea’s currents brought them off the coast of Zamboanga del Norte.
Both fishermen were given a medical check-up and found to be tired but otherwise in good health.
Both local government units are coordinating with each other for the transport back to the province of the two fishers./(Eugene Y. Adiong/iNEWS-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)