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Pumpboat sinks; 1 dead, 2 missing

BUTUAN CITY – A 14-year old girl died and two others went missing while 78 other passengers were rescued when a pumpboat sank late Saturday afternoon near the Magallanes Port in Magallanes town, Agusan del Norte, police reported yesterday.

Reports from Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office here identified the fatality as Cindy Claire Relos Villanueva, of Magallanes town. She was declared dead on arrival at Cabdbaran City Emergency Hospital.

The passengers, who remained missing as of yesterday, are Pinky Buzon, 17; and Jaime Navarro, 54, both residents of Barangay Marcos, Magallanes town.

Among those rescued were pump boat captain Manuel Batistil and operator marine diesel mechanic Eusebio G. Donan and one helper, according to Agusan del Norte police director Ronelo D. Jaurigue.

Police learned that pumpboat MBCA Jay 2 sank as the boat captain made a U-turn to duck at the port, causing its engine to stop and the water rapidly filled its rear portion.

The passenger pumpboat was sailing from Butuan City Port towards Magallanes Port in Magallanes town, Agusan del Norte, when the incident took place, police said.

As of this posting, search and rescue operations for the two missing persons were still ongoing within the mouth of giant Agusan river and Butuan Bay.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard yesterday said the operation of MBCA Jay 2, owned by Eleonor G. Donan, was temporarily suspended while investigation is ongoing. (Mike U. Crismundo)

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