7 athletes dead after dragon boat capsizes off Boracay

Boracay map. <i>Photo: Google maps</i>
Boracay map. Photo: Google maps

Seven athletes died this morning after their boat capsized in rough waters about 300 meters off the popular resort island of Boracay. Fourteen survivors made it to shore.

The seven were members of the Boracay Dragon Boat Team, which often competes in local and international dragon boat tournaments. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said they are withholding the names of the victims — three women and four men — for the next 24 hours, as their family members have yet to be informed of what happened, reported Rappler.

The victims drowned after their boat “was battered by big waves and strong winds,” according to PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo. GMA News said the maritime accident occurred in the waters near the village of Manoc-Manoc at a little past 7:30am.

Jaylord Violanda told ABS-CBN News that their boat was about 300 meters from the shore when water started accumulating inside their vessel. Panicked, some of the members abandoned the boat and swam for the shore, while others were left behind.

The 14 survivors — seven men and seven women — were brought to the island’s Saint Gabriel Hospital for treatment. One of the survivors was Chinese and another was a Russian national. The team had been practicing for an international competition, the PCG said.

Dragon boat racing is a fairly popular team sport in the Philippines. Numerous teams are based in Manila, but international and local competitions are often held in Boracay.

Read more Coconuts Manila articles here.

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