3 students drrown in flashflood

Williamor A. Magbanua and Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 06:42
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st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/10 Nov) — Rescuers recovered the bodies of two teenagers who were swept by floodwaters Sunday afternoon while taking photographs beside the Saguing River here.

st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } The city search and rescue team found the two cadavers in Barangay Libertad, Makilala, Cotabato, seven kilometers away from this city.

Police identified the victims as Precion Taeza and Janely Antipuesto, both students of Saint Mary’s Academy here.

The victims sustained wounds in the head and other parts of the body when retrieved near the riverbank of Libertad River.

The body of another victim, Krisdan May Dela Cruz, 15, was found today, around 9 am, in Barangay Kalunasan, M’lang, a town next to Makilala.

A team from the Cotabato Electric Cooperative led the search and retrieval operations, according to Marlon Ceballos, head of the 505 Search and Rescue Operations Group in the city.

Dela Cruz’s father, who works at the Cotelco, led the retrieval operations, Ceballos said.

On Sunday afternoon, a group of nine students went to the Landmark River Park to take photographs and celebrated the first anniversary of their friendship when a flashflood occurred.

The students all fell into the floodwaters, but six of them were rescued by Landmark employees and some visitors.

“We were there to celebrate.  We didn’t expect it would end this way,” said Charisse Jane Franco, one of the survivors, in a radio interview.

Franco also swam the Saguing River and was swept by the raging waters.  But a still unidentified man saved her.

“The guy saved my life. I am so grateful to him.  I wish I could thank him.   But until now, I have no idea who that guy is,” she said, adding they already decided to leave the place when one of her classmates again invited them to take a dip.

She said they did not expect the waters at the Saguing River would reach as high as five to six feet because it did not rain.

But Ceballos, in a radio interview, explained the Saguing River serves as a catch basin of many upstream rivers from Makilala and M’lang towns. Early that day, there was heavy downpour upstream.

“At 3 p.m., the waters from the upper portion started to flow downstream. And around 5 p.m., the waters were already high at the Saguing River,” he said.

The landmark is owned and operated by the city government as part of its local tourism promotion.

The Saguing River would usually overflow during heavy downpour.

Landmark River Park, a favorite hangout of many students during weekends, is located along the boundary between Kidapawan and Makilala.

Mayor Rodolfo Gantuangco has not issued a statement regarding the incident, although he called for a meeting in response to the incident.

The mayor has ordered the setting up of early warning signs at the riverside.

Ceballos has also suggested that the city government organize a response alert team composed of trained swimmers and rescuers. (Williamor A. Magbanua and Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)


My Take:

The City government must learn a lesson or two from this sad event.

They must have a warning device there (such as bulletin boards and intercom-like device where a voice will repeatedly announce the warning) informing tourists, visitors and all, of a heavy downpour upstream that may cause considerable rise in the river’s water level.

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