|FILE PHOTO: The river in Brgy. Iba, San Jose, Tarlac|
Five hikers were reported dead and one is still missing. An Inquirer report identified the victims as Mark Raven Villanueva, Rocky Sumalinog, Jose Bernadette Ramirez, Jo Marie San Diego and Dooren Adriano (as put forward by their friends the correct names are: Mark Reyvin Villanueva, Rocky Sumalinog, Bernadette Ramirez, Jo Marie San Diego and Doreen Adriano.) Several others were reported injured. Contrary to an earlier report by ABS-CBN (which has since been amended), none of the victims belonged to the UP Mountaineers, who took part in the search and rescue operations.
The river in question - Pangasahan River in some accounts - is known to swell during the rainy season.
Flashfloods are the leading cause of hiking-related deaths in the Philippines. In September 2011, hiker Adrian Alba was swept by strong currents in Rodriguez, Rizal. In 2008 and 2009, two incidents in Anawangin Cove in Zambales also involving river crossings, also claimed the lives of several hikers.
The mountaineering community has taken to social media to express sympathies over this tragic accident. We are praying for the safety/rescue of missing hiker, speedy recovery for those who were injured, and comfort for the families of the victims.
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