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71 fishers saved after boats battered by stormy seas.

By Betheena Kae Unite

Seventy-one fishermen were rescued while two were declared dead in Tawi-Tawi after 26 boats were battered by rough seas spawned by Storm "Vinta," the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Wednesday.

The Court Guard said more fishermen could be missing as survivors claimed there were from 15 to 19 men aboard each boat.

The fishermen were found near Pamilikan Island in Mapun, Tawi-Tawi, Monday morning.

Captain Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesman, said the motorized boats ran into the storm and tried to seek shelter on Mangsee Island in Palawan. Huge waves made it impossible for them to steer for Mangsee and the fishers ended up in Mapun instead.

"The Coast Guard station commander in the area has yet to determine the exact figure because the survivors who are still in hospitals were saying that there were 15 to 19 men onboard the bancas. Based on their figures we are estimating that half of the fishermen are still missing," Balilo said.

He also could not determine how the boats ended up in Mapun. "We still cannot say what caused the incident, if it was due to the unpredictable direction of the storm but these fishermen are all veterans. It might be because of the storm. They were able to find shelter but they were still caught up with it," Balilo said.

Balilo said the Coast Guard is still hoping the missing fishermen will be found alive.

"We are hopeful because in cases like this, sometimes they are swept away to nearby coastal barangays and were rescued by locals there or by transiting vessels. We issued a mariner already and we are hoping for a positive result and hopefully there are still survivors from the missing persons," he said.

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Title Annotation:Metro
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 27, 2017
Words:292
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