By TARA YAP
The speedboat carrying a town mayor, two actresses and five others capsized off the coast of Antique Thursday, killing the local executive’s bodyguard, police said.
Senior Inspector Glen Jaromay, police chief in neighboring Sebaste town, identified the lone fatality as Bennie Benedicto Dable, the 50-year-old bodyguard of Pandan Mayor Jonathan Tan.
Aside from Tan, the other survivors include actresses Bianca Manalo and Ehra Madrigal, Mejel Tresche, Tom Yeung, Madrigal’s husband; Torebeo Barrientos, Joyce Mallari and her two daughters.
Jaromay said the victims were five kilometers from the shoreline of Barangay Aras-Aras when strong waves slammed the boat, causing it to tilt sideways and capsize.
Interviewed by ABS-CBN, Tan said he and Barrientos swam for hours in the open sea to ask for help.
“Napakabilis lang ng pangyayari, 10 to 15 seconds, tumaob kami. Nag-panic na ang lahat. I had to do something. Kung hindi ko gagawin ‘yun, malulunod kaming lahat,” Tan told the television network.
Tan said they swam for two hours covering about four kilometers before they were seen by local fishermen.
“Napaiyak talaga ako. While we were on our way pabalik sa kanila, ‘Makikita ko pa ba sila? Are they still there? Grabe talaga, parang pelikula ‘yung pangyayari,” Tan narrated.
The speedboat was supposed to be on its way to Mararison Island, a popular beach destination in the town of Culasi.
Manalo and Madrigal visited Pandan on the invitation of the mayor. Among Pandan’s popular summer attractions are the Bugang River and Malumpati Spring.
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