Man dies, cousin survives after flash flood sweeps car

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A car passenger died when a flash flood swept away their vehicle on the bypass road at Barangay Jalaud Norte, Zarraga, Iloilo.

The incident was reported around 1 a.m. on Oct 30, 2022 but rescuers retrieved the car and the body of Roger Caro around 7:10 a.m.

The 50-year-old Caro, a barangay tanod from Bulalacao village, New Lucena, Iloilo, was taken to Jose Montfort Medical Center Extension Hospital in Barotac Nuevo but was declared dead on arrival.

The car’s driver and Caro’s cousin, Elmer Lascano, 43, of Barangay Badu, Calinog town, was found alive in the nearby school campus. He was unscathed, police said.

Colonel Noel Aliño, Iloilo police chief, immediately mobilized policemen to coordinate with other rescue groups to locate the vehicle.

He also personally went to the area to lead the search, rescue, and retrieval operations.

According to Lieutenant Raphy Señeres, Zarraga police chief, they received a report past 1 a.m. that a vehicle – Nissan Sentra sedan – passed by the area and was not seen moments after a loud thud was heard.

Because of the flash flooding, a “No Entry” sign was placed in the area.

But since it was nighttime, the two might not have noticed it.

The victims came from Dumangas and were on their way to Caro’s house when the incident happened.

Police investigators said the victims might have been drunk at that time.

Señeres added police personnel were deployed in the area but when the incident happened, a heavy downpour forced them to take shelter at a nearby house.

It took more than six hours for rescuers to find the vehicle which was submerged around 15 meters from where they were believed to have been swept.

Señeres described the road to be in an elevated position and the vehicle got carried away several feet deep into the roadside land.

Lascano apparently managed to get out of the vehicle before it was gobbled by floodwaters.

He was found a few minutes after the vehicle with Caro’s body was located.

“He was either unconscious or dozed off when we found him in the vicinity of the school campus,” Señeres said.

Lascano was still reeking of liquor when rescuers found him, Señeres added.

Meanwhile, Caro is the 20th person who died at the height of Tropical Storm Paeng, police records indicated.