LEGAZPI CITY (22May2013/PNA) – The Albay government sent two search and rescue teams on Wednesday morning to look for a foreign mountaineer who sent a message through his cellphone to a villager saying he got lost and broke his leg while climbing Mayon volcano.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) chairperson, identified the missing foreign mountaineer as Mark Yuchagaev, reportedly a Russian, but authorities are still confirming his true nationality.
Salceda said they had received a distress call at about 8:02 p.m.on Tuesday, informing them that a certain foreign national climbed Mayon on Sunday, passing through the Barangay Mi-isi trail in Daraga town at the southwest portion of Mayon.
“A certain Jerry Bilala of Busay, Daraga, Albay, reported to the Daraga Fire Station, asking assistance for a certain Mr. Mark Yuchagaev–a foreign national who climbed Mt. Mayon–who texted that he could not move and asked for help. Yuchagaev was in 1,700 meters above sea level,” Salceda said.
According to the PDRRMC, Yuchagaev was alone when he climbed the 2,600-meter high volcano without a permit to climb from authorities and an accredited mountain guide.
In an interview with Bilala Tuesday night at the office of the Albay Provincial Safety and Emergency Monitoring Office, he told the PNA that Yuchagaev passed by his residence in Barangay Busay, Daraga town, Sunday morning.
He said they had a conversation for about an hour and he learned from the foreigner about his plan to climb Mayon, through the nearby village of Mi-isi.
Bilala said Yuchagaev was complete with traveling gadgets and had a large backpack.
It was at the Apsemo that its head, Dr. Cedric Daep, and the rescue teams made the plan for a search and rescue operations early Wednesday morning. Earlier, four German nationals and their local mountain guide climbed Mount Mayon last May 6 but got killed when the volcano suddenly had a phreatic explosion. (PNA)