LEGAZPI CITY (22-Jan-2013) – The three scuba divers, a Filipino dive master and his two Australian companions, who were reportedly missing at the Manta Bowl sea waters along Ticao Pass fronting Sitio Tacdugan in Barangay Bagahanglad in San Jacinto, Masbate on Sunday, were found safe Monday morning.
A team from the Philippine National Police’s Bantay Dagat in Masbate chanced upon the lost divers – Bobby Adrao, a Filipino dive master, Lance McDonald and Nicole McDonald, both Australian nationals – floating in the ocean off Sitio Mababoy, Barangay Guinhadap in the nearby town of Monreal, Masbate, a report from Camp Bonny Serrano in Masbate reaching Camp Gen. Simeon Ola in this city revealed.
It was learned that the trio chartered a boat and went scuba diving along Ticao Pass Sunday morning.
The boat crew lost sight of them due to rough seas and, after four hours of futile search, decided to seek assistance from the police.
Ticao Pass, a well-known dive site, is also an ideal jump-off point to the nearby coastal town of Donsol, Sorsogon where whale shark interaction activities are in progress.
Joint elements from the 5th Regional Public Safety Battalion’s 2nd Maneuver Company led by Insp. Nicolas Malipot, the Bantay Dagat, and men from the San Jacinto Municipal Police Office led by Senior Insp. Wilfredo Espinelia immediately launched search and rescue operations around 6 p.m. Sunday.
Investigation revealed that the trio had been missing for about 12 hours.
The rescue team and personnel of a nearby resort in Ticao Island picked up the rescued divers around 6:30 a.m.
The three were rushed to Ticao Island Resort Rescue Base for first aid application and later transferred to the San Jacinto District hospital.
The divers are now in safe condition.(PNA)