When the surge of big waves came, the 21 paddlers from the Boracay Dragon Force team wore no life vests when their boat capsized, according to a report from the public information unit of Malay, Aklan.
Paddlers Mark Vincent Navarrete, Comar Acob, Maricel Tan, Johann Tan, Richel Montuya, Antonette Supranes and John Vincent Natividad failed to survive the ordeal and were declared dead on arrival at the hospital.
“It is a sad loss for our sport,’’ said Philippine Canoe Kayak and Dragon Boat Federation president Jonne Go, who will fly to Boracay Friday with top PCKDF officials to pay their respects. “Prayers and condolences to their families.’’
According to Go, the seven paddlers are not members of the national team, but one of them—Montuya—tried out for the Philippine dragonboat squad early this year and showed great potential.
“They are our friends and club members of the Boracay team which we treat as family,’’ said PCKDBF head coach Len Escollante.
Based on the progress report of the public information unit of Malay, Aklan, the paddlers encountered rough waves that filled the boat with water, causing it to capsize approximately 300 meters off the shore in Barangay Manoc-Manoc.
Continuous strong waves and the current made the boat unstable, displacing the paddlers. The victims were not wearing life vests during the accident.
Von Navarrosa, Yhen Aytona, Mark Baccay, Kenneth Bandalan, Jao Buenaventura, Julia Kurbaniizova, Robel Licerio, Janice Lumbo, Lani Ordas, Edwin Paradas, Marc Sabado, Kathleen Sabado, Jayrold Violanda and Maggie Xie survived the tragedy.
Photo Courtesy Coast Guard Station Aklan