By Marrah Erika Lesaba, Philip Tubeza
Inquirer Southern Luzon, Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) The Philippine Coast Guard recovered Thursday afternoon the body of a missing Japanese tourist off the coast of Mabini, Batangas, a PCG official said.
PCG-Southern Tagalog District commander Cdr. William Melad identified the victim as Yutaka Sawaguchi, 41, who went diving shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday and had not been heard from or seen since then. He was billeted at the Sun Beam Resort in Barangay (village) Balangit, Mabini, Batangas.
Melad said Coast Guard divers, assisted by a French technical diver, found at around 1:40 p.m. the body of the victim submerged 80 meters under water some 200 meters from the shoreline.
“It seemed that when our divers discovered the body, the body was still under water. Our divers decided to look within the 50-meter radius of where Sawaguchi was last seen and it was at this juncture when they found him,” Melad said.
An investigation by the Mabini police showed that Sawaguchi checked in at the resort at 2 p.m. on Wednesday for a fun dive with some friends, Senior Superintendent Alberto Supapo, Batangas police director, said.
After his registration, Sawaguchi immediately went diving together with Akihiro Iyauchi, 38, a Japanese master scuba diver working as a dive instructor at the resort.
When they reached the 30-meter depth just off the beach fronting the resort, the guide called the attention of Sawaguchi by signaling to him that they had already gone to a depth of more than 30 meters.
Sawaguchi reportedly acknowledged the warning, prompting Iyauchi to swim up to a safer depth. But when Iyauchi noted that Sawaguchi was not following him, he made a search.
When the dive guide ran out of oxygen, he surfaced and immediately sought the assistance of the resort staff who, in turn, reported the matter to the Mabini police.
Melad said the Coast Guard sent out divers to look for the victim while the resort also organized a team to look for him.
The search was stopped around 9 p.m. Wednesday due to poor visibility. The search was resumed at daybreak Thursday, Supapo said.
Melad said the victim's remains had been turned over to Sawaguchi's friends and the police.http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20110317-325958/Body-of-missing-Japanese-diver-found-off-Batangas-coast