Divers recover body of missing tourist

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/15 June) — First the divers recovered her red helmet. Then inside a watery labyrinth  of limestone rocks, the body of  Aizza Calipusan Balbin, a nurse from Loboc, Bohol, was found, still wearing her life vest.

She was 26.

Chisum Factura of Kagay Journey- White Water and Rafting said their divers recovered the body at around 11:30am Sunday on the same spot where the inflatable raft capsized two days ago

He said the divers first cleared the area of twigs and other debris at the entrance of the labyrinth where they suspected Balbin was pinned when she fell from their raft last Friday, June 13.

After clearing the debris, Factura said the divers found the helmet and body of Balbin.

Balbin went missing last Friday after the raft she and three other companions were riding capsized in one of the dangerous sections of the Cagayan de Oro River.

Her body was brought to the Cosmopolitan Funeral parlor in downtown Cagayan de Oro where the Scene of the Crime Operatives (S.O.C.O.) performed an autopsy.

Senior Inspector West Edquila of SOCO region 10, said Balbin’s family asked for the autopsy.

Marjorie Paredes, a cousin of the victim, said they wanted to know the cause of death aside from drowning.

“We do not suspect any foul play but we would like to know why she was not able to get out of the water like her companions,” Paredes said.

Balbin’s death is the first accident since the white water rafting adventure made Cagayan de Oro the nation’s white water capital 15 years ago.

Mayor Oscar Moreno has threatened to suspend all rafting and kayaking tours unless local outfitter agencies can come up with measures to ensure the safety of the tourists. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)