Coast Guard had no prior notice on dragon boat training that killed 7

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2019 12:46 PM

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MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard said Thursday that it did not receive prior notice about the training of a "dragon boat" team whose 7 members were killed after their vessel capsized off Boracay island this week. 

Large waves swamped and overturned the wooden boat off one of the world's most famous tropical holiday resorts on Wednesday, killing 4 male and 3 female rowers who were training for an international race, authorities earlier said. 

"Wala pong information na dumating sa amin na magka-conduct sila ng training at that time po," said PCG-Aklan station commander Lt. Cdr. Marlowe Acevedo. 

"If we are informed na mag-conduct sila ng training, definitely po we will require them na magsuot po ng life jacket for their own safety," he added. 

(No information reached us that they would conduct training at the time. If we were informed, definitely, we would require them to wear life jackets.) 

Authorities were still investigating whether the fatalities died of drowning or from smashing onto corals and underwater rocks, said Acevedo, adding that 2 victims had head injuries. 

"Noong time na nangyari po ito, medyo maalon so may tendency po na mapapailalim ang ating casualties. At that time, baka natamaan po sila," he said. 

(The waves were choppy at that time so there is a tendency that our casualties hit rocks on the sea floor.) 

The Filipino victims were training for the Kaohsiung City Cup scheduled for the southern Taiwanese city in November, said team member Remedy Aquino, who was not aboard the boat.

Dragon boat racing is a popular sport in the Philippines and many parts of Asia, where 20 paddlers sit two abreast atop a long wooden 12-meter boat sandwiched by a cox who steers the vessel from the rear and a drummer in front. With a report from Agence France-Presse