BAGUIO CITY-- Three elementary pupils in Itogon, Benguet died around past noon on Friday at a medical facility where they were rushed after drowning in a river during class hour, the police said.
Maj. Romel Sawatang, Itogon municipal chief of police, identified fatalities as Kyla Mae D. Fernandez, Grade 9 student; Dickzy Mae M. Catos, Grade 7; both native of Ansipsip Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya; and Angel Hernandez, Grade 9, of Quirino Province. They are stay-in students at Bless His Place Academy located in Sitio Karil Calew, Dalupirip, Itogon, Benguet.
Sawatang said the incident happened around 9 a.m. along Agno River, which is near their school.
“Base on our investigation, the three female victims, together with a male companion who is also a minor, allegedly went to the river to fetch their companions who went to gather some pine wood. The three victims went straight to the river to swim leaving their male companion beside the river,” Sawatang said.
Sawatang said two of the students tried to rescue their companion, who was struggling in the water, but due to lack of knowledge in swimming, they drowned altogether.
“The bodies were recovered by rescuers around 10:27 a.m. and were brought to Itogon District Hospital in Kireng, Tinongdan, Itogon, Benguet for possible revival, but were declared dead on arrival at the hospital,” Sawatang said.
The area where the students drowned is more than an hour's drive to the hospital.
Authorities are investigating the incident to find out why the students were the ones gathering wood and were allowed to leave the school premises during classes.
In a phone interview, Department of Education public affairs officer Georaloy Palao-ay said they still have to receive information regarding the incident but pledged to look into the incident. (PNA)