Philippine crews rescue survivors of deadly boat accident in typhoon’s wake

Noel Celis
Binangonan, Philippines
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A man checks life jackets recovered from the Princess Aya, a passenger boat, after it capsized in Laguna de Bay, a freshwater lake in the northern Philippines, July 27, 2023. [Noel Celis/BenarNews]

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The wreckage of the Princess Aya is seen after it capsized in Laguna de Bay, Philippines, July 27, 2023. [Noel Celis/BenarNews]

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Fishermen search the waters at the port near where a boat with passengers capsized at Laguna de Bay, southeast of Manila, July 27, 2023. [Noel Celis/BenarNews]

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Philippine Coast Guard rescuers assist residents in a flooded portion of Laoag city, the capital of Ilocos Norte province, July 26, 2023. [Handout photo/Philippine Coast Guard]

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A landslide crushed a vehicle in Baguio city, northern Philippines, as heavy rains arrived ahead of Typhoon Doksuri’s landfall, July 25, 2023. [Fernando Zapata/BenarNews]

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A pedestrian copes with heavy wind and rain in Baguio city, northern Philippines, ahead of Typhoon Doksuri’s landfall in the Philippines, July 25, 2023. [Fernando Zapata/BenarNews]

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Vehicles drive through flooded roads in Baguio city, northern Philippines, July 25, 2023. [Fernando Zapata/BenarNews]

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Men look at shoes, life jackets and other items recovered after a passenger boat capsized in Laguna de Bay, a lake southeast of Manila, July 27, 2023. [Noel Celis/BenarNews]

A motorboat with 70 people onboard capsized in rough waters in the northern Philippines on Thursday, leaving more than 20 people dead as rescuers battled floods and landslides nationwide in the wake of Typhoon Doksuri.

The Princess Aya capsized 50 yards from the lakeshore village of Kalinawan, southeast of Manila, shortly after noon, the Philippine Coast Guard said. As of 9 p.m. (local time), the coast guard and police confirmed that 27 people had died and 40 others were rescued from Laguna de Bay, a freshwater lake.

“The motorboat was hit by strong winds, causing all passengers to panic. They went to the port side of the boat, causing it to capsize,” a report from the coast guard said. 

Doksuri left behind destruction as it hit several areas in the north of the country after making landfall early Wednesday. Authorities confirmed six additional deaths caused by flooding and landslides, which displaced thousands of people. 

In addition, a boat carrying four coast guard personnel went missing while trying to reach a tugboat that drifted at sea. 

The coast guard said crews were searching for the personnel whose boat capsized 21 nautical miles from the coastline of Aparri town in Cagayan. Coast guard Lt. (senior grade) Miguel Gangan said the four were headed to assist the crew members of a private tugboat reported to be drifting at sea on Wednesday afternoon.

“Search-and-rescue operations are ongoing for a four-man team that conducted SAR for Tugboat Iroquois. Unfortunately, their aluminum boat capsized and drifted away,” he said. 

“[W]e will do our best to rescue our men,” he said.  

Doksuri, known locally as Egay, packed winds equivalent to a Category 4 hurricane and brought heavy rain to Cagayan, a province on Luzon island. It caused widespread flooding and landslides.

The fifth tropical cyclone to hit the country this year, with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph (108.7 mph) near the center and gusts of up to 240 kph (149 mph), Doksuri weakened into a typhoon after it made landfall over Fuga island in Aparri, Cagayan, around 3:10 a.m. Wednesday, the country’s state weather bureau said. 

On Thursday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council reported that more than 328,000 people across the country were affected by the storm. 

In the town of Buguias, in northern Benguet province, a landslide killed a mother and her three children. Elsewhere, a woman died after she was hit by a falling coconut tree in Isabela province, and a 16-year-old boy died in a landslide in Baguio city, disaster relief officials said. 

Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said thousands of ferry passengers who normally cross the sea were stranded, beginning Tuesday, in Luzon and Visayas. 

“Considering the public storm warning signals are still hoisted over those areas where they are stranded, we cannot compromise their safety,” he said. 

On Wednesday, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said there could be more floods and landslides as well, with rain expected during the storm’s aftermath. 

While on a state visit to Malaysia, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. posted a message on Twitter to assure Filipinos that the government would monitor and respond to the aftermath of the typhoon. 

“We continue to take appropriate actions to mitigate the impact of Super Typhoon Egay,” he said, noting that the government would ensure the safety of affected families. 


The state weather agency on Thursday said another disturbance was threatening the Southeast Asian nation after the typhoon blew out earlier in the day. A tropical depression was monitored 1,800 km. (1,118 miles) east of northeastern Mindanao, and could be reclassified as a typhoon if it gathers strength in the coming days.

The Philippines sits on a typhoon belt and endures up to 20 storms a year, some of them deadly. 

In September 2022, Super Typhoon Noru, the most powerful storm to strike the Philippines that year, killed at least five people when massive flooding forced the evacuation of thousands.  

The following month, floods and landslides unleashed by rains from Tropical Storm Nalgae killed at least 150 people across the country. One of the areas hardest hit was the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao where a wall of mud buried one village in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, killing at least 63. 

In November 2013, more than 6,000 people were killed or went missing when Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the central Philippines. A year earlier, more than 1,000 people were killed when Typhoon Bopha swept across eastern Mindanao. 

Jeoffrey Maitem and Jason Gutierrez in Manila contributed to this report.


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