A Philippine Navy gunboat rescued before dawn Saturday at least 123 passengers, mostly students, on board M/B Brian that encountered an engine trouble off Burias Island in Masbate, an official of the PN Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) said.
PN gunboat PG 374 sighted M/B Brian floating about 300 yards northwest of Cueva point in Burias Island at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, according to Navy Ensign Chibar Bullos, NAVFORSOL spokesperson.
On board the motorized banca were a delegation of 100 elementary students and 18 teachers from the Claveria South District Schools and five crew members.
Bullos said M/B Brian, carrying the school delegation, left Claveria town and was bound for Burias Island where the school delegation would participate in the District Sports Meet in San Pascual town.
Bullos said in a phone interview that the boat crew, after failing to repair the boat engine, made an emergency call that prompted the PN to immediately dispatch Navy gunboat PG 374 for a search-and-rescue operation.
The Navy gunboat towed the M/B Brian to the San Pascual pier at about 4:30 a.m.