By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Two elementary pupils drowned on Wednesday while bathing in the river at Barangay Balaring, Silay City, Negros Occidental.
The victims were identified as Michael Castillano, 10 years old and a Grade 4 pupil of Balaring Elementary School and his cousin Rommel Mulitin, 12 years old and a Grade 6 pupil, also of the same school.
According to John Rey Cario, the two cousins skipped their afternoon classes and decided to take a bath in the river about 1 p.m. together with his nephew Gino Cordero.
He said his nephew rushed home and informed them that Castillano and Mulitin drowned.
They immediately proceeded to the area and saw the two minors in the shallow portion of the river.
They tried to rescue the two, who, however, gradually disappeared as they were swallowed by the strong water current.
Rescuers scoured the stretch of the river for retrieval operation and found the bodies of the already unconscious victims following an hour-long tedious search.
They immediately rushed the drowning victims to the hospital in Silay City but attending physicians pronounced them dead on arrival.
According to Cordero, the two cousins were playing with a ball while bathing in the river. In the midst of the enjoyment, the ball was carried away by the water current and the younger Castillano gave chase to retrieve it, unknowing he was being drifted toward the deeper portion of the river.
Seeing his cousin in danger, Mulitin rushed to try saving him but he too, drowned.