KOREAN DIVERS FOUND ALIVE
One still missing; two divers found drifting near Camotes
Two of the three Korean divers who went missing off Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City last Sunday were found alive near the shores of barangay Himensulan, San Francisco town in Camotes Islands yesterday afternoon.
Thirty-four-year-old diving instructor Baek Seung Kyoon and 31-year-old female diver Kim Eun are confined at the Ricardo L. Maningo Memorial Hospital in San Francisco town, the town’s information officer Gagal Maningo said.
The third Korean diver, 45-year-old Heo Seung Yung, remained missing as of last night.
Earlier reports from rescue officials indicated that all three Korean divers were found alive.
But eventually it turned out that only the two were found drifting near the San Francisco shoreline.
Even the military’s Central Command in its Facebook page last night said only two were found alive.
It said a Navy vessel from the Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) carrying divers and a medical team plus the families of the Koreans headed to San Francisco to fetch the survivors.
Maningo said barangay officials of Himensulan headed by barangay chairman Rene Maranga told him that they found the female Korean drifting near the seashore near the resort of the Lhuillier family at 4 p.m.
An hour later, Maningo said he was informed by Maranga that a male Korean was also found drifting in the vicinity of the resort by a security guard detailed there.
Baek Seung Kyoon, who was found clad in his underwear, had to be administered oxygen by a rescue team from the Camotes Islands Emergency Response Team (CIERT).
“Naglisod siyag ginhawa ug luya kaayo, di gani makabikang sa iyang tiil, di makalakaw (He was having difficulty breathing. He can’t walk),” Maningo said.
The male Korean had three oxygen tanks, which he and the two others used during their diving activity. Kim Eun was also weak but can still speak.
She complained of pain in her legs. She had bruises in the face and contusions on her neck.
Maningo said Kim Eun wore a wet suit with six oxygen tanks.
Maningo said Kim Eun told them that the three other tanks came from Heo Seung Yung, who was with their group.
“Nagkita pa daw na sila’ng tulo sa hayag pa unya kadtong na-missing gibug-atan na unya gisakitan sa iyang tiil (She said the three of them still saw each other when there was still light. When they went missing, she said her equipment got heavy and her feet hurt),” Maningo quoted Kim Eun as saying.
Maningo said she told them that she last saw Heo in the early hours of Tuesday.
He said the two are hoping that he survived. The two Koreans at first refused to be brought to a hospital because they had no money.
Maningo said they convinced them that the local government will shoulder everything. They were taken to the hospital at 8 pm.
“Gi-oxygen na sila karon sa hospital kay luya kaayo unya naglisod og ginhawa (They were administered oxygen at the hospital because they were weak and had difficulty breathing),” Maningo said.
Lt. James Reyes, spokesperson of the NavForcen, said the Navy vessel PG-372 BRP Alfredo Peckson left at 8 pm from Navforcen headquarters in Lapu-Lapu City to fetch the two survivors.
Reyes said the families of the Koreans were also with them.
Aside from Reyes, the vessel was manned by Lt. Junior Grade Jay Lagang, a medical team headed by 1st Lt. Rey Mallorca and divers headed by Lt. Ramil Sahol.
The search for the Koreans since last Sunday was delayed due to huge waves and strong water currents.
A 54-year-old fisherman named Alberto Daño claimed to have spotted the three Koreans who were supposed to be part of a group of divers in last Sunday’s activity near a dive resort in Punta Engaño.
Andy Kim, the manager of the New Grand Bleu Dive Resort where the three Koreans rented equipment from, denied reports that they didn’t do anything to help search for the missing divers.
“In fact we provided tanks, food, boats and called for help from the Korean dive volunteers. We informed the Korean consul about the incident and provided a private plane to help in the search,” Kim said.
He said they also provided accommodations to the family of Kim Eun and Baek Sheung Kyoon who arrived from South Korea yesterday.
“The divers signed a waiver and they knew more on whether it was safe for them to dive or not,” Kim said.
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