Korean declared ‘missing’ in Opol

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/22 November)–A weekend outing of Korean nationals at the beach in Opol, Misamis Oriental turned sour when one of their compatriots went missing and authorities believed the Korean fell from his jet ski.

Police Inspector Sebastian Chua of the Opol municipal police station told reporters that some Koreans were holding a party at the Maravilla Beach Resort in Opol last Sunday.

Chua identified the missing Korean as Kim Sho Huam, 28, single. He said the other Koreans told him Kim did not know how to swim. He also said they responded after receiving a call for assistance from the Opol beach guards.

Chua said Kim lived at the posh Xavier Estates in upper Balulang, this city.

He worked at a family-owned WeLove Equipment, a construction company involved in constructing a hotel and resort facilities in Laguindingan town near the Laguindingan International Airport which is still under construction.

All of the Korean nationals who were at the beach refused to give a statement to reporters.

Ruby Madlas, officer-in-charge of Ajis Aqua Sports and Beach Resort adjacent to Maravilla Beach Resort said that he saw Kim riding a jet ski for several runs. He added that when he checked on Kim with his binoculars moments later, he saw only the jet ski making circles on the water but without its rider.

Madlas, who is also a beach guard, organized and sent out a search and rescue party along with some local fisherfolk.

This city’s rescue volunteer group Oro Alert participated in the search.

Members of the Philippine Coast Guard Northern Mindanao District’s Special Operations Unit also scoured the area. Ensign Patrick John Cabasag said that their divers searched the seabed for Kim.

The Coast Guard called off the operation at 10pm and resumed it at 9am on Monday. As of yesterday, Cabansag declared Kim “lost at sea.”

“As the hours pass, the chances of surviving lost at sea become slim. We have shifted our operation from search and rescue to search and retrieval,” he said.

Cabansag added that the area where jet skis are allowed to cruise has a depth of 250 feet at 400 yards from the shoreline. He added that, based on their dives, at 500 yards, the depth is from to 500 feet to 750 feet.

Cabansag said that if Kim’s body was not washed out to shore, it may have sunk and “it will slowly rise only after 24 hours.”

Rescue officials said they will not give up on recovering the Korean national’s body and “will exert all efforts to recover it.” (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)