Some 12 hours after a drowning incident was reported at Twin Rock Beach Resort in Virac last Sunday, a Search and Rescue (SAR) team recovered the body of a Virac resident in a deep portion of the sea off the resort.
A report from the Coast Guard Station Catanduanes headquarters stated that it received a VHF radio call from the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) at about 6:30 PM of April 30 informing of an alleged drowning incident at the resort in barangay Igang.
The SAR team immediately proceeded to the resort, where upon arrival at 7 PM, they coordinated with Virac Municipal DRRMO personnel headed by Mark Joseph Matira who were already at the scene.
Jonel Traqueña, 25, a resident of Lupi, Camarines Sur working as a stay-in construction worker at a project inside the Catanduanes State University, told the rescue teams that he and his friend, Mark John Magdaraog, 25, a resident of Danicop, Virac, were swimming at the beach at about 6 PM when they encountered big waves and the strong current caused the latter to drift towards the deep portion of the sea.
Traqueña said he tried to help Mark John but could not save him.
At 7:15 PM, the Coast Guard team conducted a surface search using its AB-201 speed boat at the vicinity of the waters off the resort while SAR teams from the PDRRMO, Virac MDRRMO, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Red Cross Catanduanes Chapter focused on the shorelines.
Two-and-a-half hours later, the teams decided to temporarily terminate SAR operations due to very poor visibility and unfavorable sea conditions.
At 7:30 AM the following day, May 1, the six teams resumed the search for Magdaraog after coordinating with the Igang barangay captain to seek assistance from local fishermen in the area.
Nearly an hour later, at 8:24 AM, a body was sighted submerged in a deep portion of the sea, with the cadaver recovered by the CGSS Virac team and brought to shore where it was positively identified by the immediate family as that of Mark John Magdaraog.
It was brought to the Eastern Bicol Medical Center for autopsy and released shortly to the family.
The drowning incident was the second to be reported in Catanduanes during the summer season, with the first fatality that of a Quezon City jeepney driver who was allegedly drunk when he went swimming during a family excursion at a Pandan beach resort. His body was later found floating in the sea off Caramoran town.