Passenger ship apprentice drowns while saving fellow trainee

A Philippine Coast Guard officer tries to revive a passenger ship apprentice who drowned while saving a fellow trainee in Lapuz, Iloilo City Thursday. (PCG-WV photo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A 22-year-old man working as a passenger ship apprentice did not survive after he drowned in the Iloilo River in Lapuz, Iloilo City afternoon of June 1.

Sammy Bryle Gonzales, an apprentice of Weesam Express from Zone 6, Sapabongga, Zamboanga City, died from drowning while saving a fellow apprentice.

According to reports, Aira Salcedo, 24, who hails from Pasunanca, Zamboanga City, and her friend, swam in a portion of the Iloilo River at Barangay Libertad, Lapuz around 2 p.m. Thursday.

Several minutes later, the woman claimed she could not tackle the water and was on the verge of drowning. She then shouted for help.

From a distance of 200 meters, Gonzales jumped into the water and saved the lady apprentice.

As Gonzales was being pulled out of the water, witnesses claimed they saw the victim being swept by a strong water current.

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard were called to conduct a search and rescue operation.

At around 3:31 p.m. Gonzales was retrieved and taken to St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo where he was declared dead around 4:18 p.m.

Salcedo, on the other hand, was rushed to West Visayas State University Medical Center and is now in stable condition.

Both Gonzales and Salcedo are students of Zamboanga State Polytechnic College.