5 students drown in Cagayan

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    FIVE students drowned at a river in Cagayan province on Saturday, the Philippine Coast Guard reported yesterday.

    The fatalities were identified as Florbeth Ruatos, and Irene Tubol, both 16; Jenny dela Cruz, and Bernadeth Paet, both 14; and May Tubol, 13, all of Aparri, Cagayan.

    PCG spokesman Commodore Armand Balilo said the five, along with two others, went to swim at the Cagayan River in Barangay Joaquin dela Cruz in Camalanuigan town at around 1 p.m. Saturday.

    While swimming, the seven reached a deep portion of the river where the drowning incident occurred, said Balilo.

    Responding members of the PCG’s Search and Reach Team tried to revive the five victims but were unsuccessful. They were brought to the Aparri District Hospital where they were declared dead on arrival.

    Another student, Louries Ann Rielo, 16, was able to swim to the river bank with Christine Mae Quinto, 14 who she rescued. The two are undergoing psychiatric evaluation at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center.

    “According to the parents of the victims, the minors told that they will have a school practice during the time of the incident. However, when they found out that the school activity was cancelled, they went to Cagayan River for a swimming venture instead,” said Balilo.