Seven dead, 14 rescued as dragon boat capsizes in Philippines

KALIBO, Philippines (AP) – The Philippines coast guard said seven rowers drowned and 14 others were rescued when their dragon boat overturned yesterday after being lashed by strong waves during a practice run off a popular resort island.

Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said the accident happened off Boracay island in the central Philippines’ Aklan province where a local dragon boat team was practising ahead of a rowing competition.

Survivors of the accident, including a Chinese and a Russian, were brought by coast guard personnel and authorities to a hospital, Balilo said. The boat capsized less than half a kilometre from the nearest beach.

Friends, supporters and fellow rowers expressed shock and offered prayers for the sudden deaths in the team’s Facebook

account. Dragon boat rowing using Chinese-style canoes manned by a team of paddlers and a drum beater on board have long been popular in the Philippines, with teams competing in domestic and Asian competitions.