CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/13 June) — A local tourist was confirmed missing after the inflatable raft she and her fellow tourists were riding during a white water adventure, capsized Friday afternoon, officials said.
Vener Monsanto, chief of the Cagayan de Oro Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) said Kagay Journey-White Water Rafting and Kayaking, a local tourist outfitter agency, sought their assistance when a rubber boat filled with tourists capsized along the Cagayan de Oro River at about 2 p.m. Friday.
He said a female tourist was reported missing while her three other companions were rescued by their guides.
Monsanto said Kagay Journey-White Water Rafting and Kayaking had yet to furnish them the identity of the missing tourist.
A team sent by the CDRRMC to the site of the accident returned without finding the tourist.
Chisum Factura, owner of Kagay Journey-White Rafting and Kayaking was also mum on the identity of the tourist but he said 20 of their guides are still searching the Cagayan de Oro River as of Friday night.
Factura said there were four tourists and a guide aboard the raft when it left barangay Mambuaya Friday morning.
Kagay Journey-White Rafting and Kayaking is one of six outdoor outfitters offering white water rides along the Cagayan de Oro River.
White water rafting is an extreme adventure tour that has made Cagayan de Oro famous among tourists.
Jerome Garcia, owner of one of the outfitters, said one of his rafts passed by the overturned raft close to the end of the tour near Makahambus Cave in sitio Cabula, Barangay Lumbia, this city.
“We call this area Bonsai Area because of the numerous limestone rocks along the river,’ Garcia said.
He said the area is extremely dangerous and guides make it a point to steer the rafts away from the rocks.
Only a few accidents have been reported since1995, when white water rafting first became a popular recreational activity in this city.
Garcia said guests are given an orientation on the perils of the activity, he said. They are made to wear safety gear such as life vests and a helmet and are briefed on what to do should their raft capsize.
Mayor Oscar Moreno immediately mobilized the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) to help in the search and rescue efforts.
“We are committing all our resources in this effort and we hope the missing guest will be found safe and sound,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo /MindaNews)