Fisherman dead, son hurt as US speedboat slams into fishing boat off Basilan
MANILA, Philippines—A fisherman was killed while another was wounded when a US naval boat collided with a small fishing vessel off Hadji Mutamad town in Basilan, a military official said Friday.
A Mark V Special Operations Craft was on its way back to Zamboanga City after delivering medicines for a humanitarian mission being conducted by the Philippine and US troops when it slammed into the fishing boat around 7 p.m. Wednesday, said Colonel Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 104th Brigade and Joint Task Force Basilan.
The fisherman was killed while his son, aged between 20-25, was wounded but declared out of danger, Visaya said.
The US vessel, which can run more than 65 knots, has navigation equipment but the American soldiers on board failed to see the small fishing boat because it was too dark, he said.
Visaya said it was an accident.
“You cannot say that they were at fault, it was night time. Although they [US troops] have navigation equipment, this small fishing boat came out of nowhere,” Visaya said.
But he said the family of the victims agreed not to press charges.
“The family accepted that it’s really an accident. So although we know they are liable but then it was all settled with the intervention of the former mayor of [Lantawan town], Mayor Pahira Ismael,” Visayas said.
Some 600 US soldiers are in Mindanao training Filipino soldiers on counter terrorism.