M/V Fortune Gold, a domestic cargo vessel, successfully rescued two foreign nationals who went missing while on scuba diving approximately 11.8 nautical miles South West of Apo Island Municipality of Dauin, Negros Oriental on January 29, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.
“Initial investigation revealed that the two divers namely Matthew Lafrance , 41 year old Canadian national dive instructor of Dumaguete Divers and Swayam Rawla, 30 year old US national advance diver were onboard Mbca Rosefel 2 and were dropped at the diving spot area Rockwest within the vicinity of Apo Islands for diving venture but failed to return at expected time,” PCG said.
Upon receiving report, PCG said Coast Guard Station Negros Oriental directed Coast Guard personnel in Apo Island to conduct search and rescue operation. It also coordinated with local government units and vessels plying in the area to be on look-out for the missing persons.
“Around 9 PM, M/V Fortune Gold, a cargo vessel which departed Iligan City bound for Iloilo City with its master, Captain Ricarte Hibalay, conducted search and rescue operations upon hearing the two whistling and shouting for help,” PCG added.
According the rescued foreign divers, the motorbanca that dropped them was not at the said location at the expected time causing them to be drifted by strong currents for almost 13 nautical miles away from their original position and stayed eight to nine hours in the ocean.
“The said station coordinated with Mr Simon Speight of Dumaguete Divers and properly turned over the survivors to their family and friends in good physical condition,” PCG said.