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Rowing team member drowns while training

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A member of a rowing team was reported missing and his 21 teammates were rescued after their boat capsized while training at the Manila Bay near the vicinity of the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex in Pasay City yesterday.

The Philippine Coast Guard identified the missing person as Jerome Tipon, 30, a resident of Tondo, Manila.

Tipon was onboard the Alab dragon boat with his teammates when it capsized before 6 a.m.

According to the PCG, the Alab Sagwan Pilipinas Rowing Team dragon boat team was returning from practice and was at least 20 to 30 meters from the shoreline of the Manila Yacht Club when the accident occurred.

One of the team members told the PCG that the boat could have tipped out of balance, causing water to come in that led to the incident.

The PCG confirmed that there was no hole in the dragon boat when it bent over the water.

PCG rescuers said team members recounted reaching for Tipon’s hand and attempting to save him but to no avail as waters pushed him farther away from the team.

“Sabi ng mga kasamahan niya, siya ang nakita nilang huling nakakapit sa bangka nung tumaob dahil iyung iba ay nagkapit kapit na sila hanggang dumating iyung ibang dragon boat teams at nirescue na sila,” PCG spokesman Armand Balilo said.

Practicing members of the rowing team were wearing life vests when the accident occurred.

Based on information provided by relatives of Tipon to a personnel from the Coast Guard sub-station CCP, the victim is a gym instructor.

Some of his colleagues were among those who patiently waited by the dock by the sub-station for him yesterday.

The 21 rowing team members were brought to Ospital ng Maynila. They were promptly released after doctors found no injuries on them.

At past noontime yesterday, search and rescue operations continue for the missing dragon boat team member. PCG divers went out to sea in batches in hopes of rescuing the missing athlete. Aside from the PCG divers, the Philippine Navy has joined the search for Tipon.

Amid the heat of the late afternoon Sun, family members of Tipon stood at the dock of the PCG detachment at the CCP complex waiting for the divers and hoping for their kin to be found.