Missing Australian divers, Filipino guide rescued off Masbate
NAGA CITY, Philippines – The three divers who were reported missing in the waters off Sorsogon province on Sunday evening were rescued Monday morning in Monreal town in Masbate, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP)in the island-province said.
Senior Superintendent Heriberto Olitoquit, Masbate PNP director, identified the divers lost at sea as husband and wife Lance and Nicole McDonald, both Australian nationals, and their Filipino dive master Bobby Adrao, a resident of Donsol, Sorsogon.
The McDonalds and Adrao were found holding on to each other and drifting off Barangay (village) Guinhadap in Monreal at about 6 a.m., Olitoquit said.
Joint police operatives led the search and rescue operation that scoured Ticao Pass, the body of water between Sorsogon and Ticao Island, one of the three primary islands that compose Masbate province.
Ticao Pass is a well-known dive site and jump off point for interaction with whale shark, locally known as butanding, and manta ray.
Initial investigation said the three went for a dive along the Ticao Pass from on board a chartered boat that came from Donsol but they separated from their fellow divers after the seas become rough.
The three were brought to the San Jacinto District Hospital on Ticao Island for medical examination, said Olitoquit.