Search for body of Gisela Boniel still yields nothing

By: Benjie B. Talisic, Norman V. Mendoza June 13,2017 - 10:18 PM

Divers suspend the search and retrieval operations for the body of Mayor Gisela Boniel due to the strong current at the Olango Channel. On its fifth day, the search still proved negative. (CDN PHOTO/NORMAN MENDOZA)

After searching for five days at the sea waters of Olango Island, divers still could not find the body of Bien Unido Mayor Gisela Boniel.

A Sonar Site Scanner which could scan the ocean floor at a depth of 700 feet, scanned an area of several kilometers but still nothing was detected.

The Naval Forces Central (NAVFORCEN) together with the Lapu-Lapu City Police and some technical divers who conducted the search and retrieval operations decided to stop the search yesterday afternoon because of the strong current.

They will resume early this morning, using their patrol craft with 10 personnel and cover another quadrant of the search area until the whole area will be covered by Friday.

“Kung makompleto na ang tanan nga area by Friday, siguro pwede na nato ihunong ang search and retrieval operations (If we can completely cover the search area by Friday, we can probably stop the search and retrieval operations),” said Lapu-Lapu City Police Director, Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot, who led the search.

Technical divers led by Mabolo Police Station Commander, Chief Insp. Jacinto Mandal, who is also a technical diver, went 100 feet deeper, bringing with them scanning equipment that could scour the ocean floor, but their efforts were in vain. Mandal finished an Underwater Search, Rescue and Retrieval course.

Mandal, who was interviewed by reporters, said that when he talked with the boatman Riolito Boniel, about where Gisela was allegedly dumped, they divided the search area into quadrants where they would conduct the retrieval operations.

Cabagnot meanwhile explained that they were exerting all efforts to find the body of Mayor Boniel from seeking the assistance of the Lapu-Lapu City government, coordinating with the Philippine Navy, PNP Maritime and the Philippine Coast Guard, to hiring private divers and asking the help of volunteer divers.

He expressed hope that the local government units of Bohol and Bien Unido would also provide resources in the search and retrieval operations.
For now, some dive shops have given them huge discounts to use their diving gears.

He added early each day, they gather for a briefing with the diving team and plan the underwater search using visuals and dividing the search area into quadrants to ensure complete coverage of the search area.

Mandal would take an active role in the briefing to ensure the safety of the divers, he added.

Mandal was tasked by Police Regional Director, Chief Supt. Noli Taliño to assist Cabagnot in the search and retrieval operations.

Since Thursday when the search started, until yesterday, no one from the family and relatives of Mayor Boniel took part in the operations.

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TAGS: body, Boniel, Gisela, Nothing, search, YIELDS

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