Twitter plea brings volunteer divers for search and rescue

(UPDATE 3) A plea for help on Twitter has resulted in more divers and equipment to help in the search-and-rescue operations for Local Secretary Jesse Robredo and pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand off Masbate island.

According to Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II, who tweeted on Sunday to ask for help in getting equipment for deeper dives, three technical divers from Malapascua, Cebu have volunteered to help in operations. Two Australians and a Filipino diver have stepped forward to help, he said.

"They are certified divers and they even brought advanced equipment," he said over radio dzBB. He explained the divers brought a rebreather, which allows divers to stay underwater longer.

Without a rebreather, divers can stay at a depth of 200 feet for around 20 to 25 minutes, he said. With a rebreather, they can stay for up to 45 minutes. The target depth for dives on Monday is around 200 feet, Roxas said.

Roxas's plea on Twitter on Sunday was for help in finding trimix, or a mixture of oxygen, nitrogen, and helium, needed for deeper dives. He tweeted that they were able to find double tanks and mixing equipment from Manila as well as helium from Cebu because of the plea for help.

Divers are expected to go down to around 300 feet under the sea off of Masbate island Monday morning to look for "metallic parts with letterings at deeper levels," Roxas said.

Late Sunday night, Roxas said a diver at 150 feet spotted "metallic parts with letterings at deeper levels" and that sonar equipment would focus on that area.

A U.S. plane equipped with forward-looking infrared, which helps detect heat against a cooler background, also flew over the area, he said. Input from the sonars will be used for the search pattern for Monday's operations, he said.

The search will be aided by eight Philippine Air Force helicopters flying along the coastal barangays in Masbate, according to President Benigno Aquino III's official Twitter account.

The President stayed overnight in Masbate to continue overseeing search and rescuer operations. The Palace said, however, that although finding Robredo and the two pilots is a priority, "the normal operations of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and its attached agencies, continue, and are unhampered by the ongoing rescue effort."

The Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, and the local government of Masbate have been conducting search and rescue operations for Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, and pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand since Saturday. Their Piper Seneca plane crashed just short of Masbate on Saturday.

Family remains hopeful


Meanwhile, Robredo's family remains "hopeful as we brace ourselves for the worst," his wife, lawyer Leni Gerona-Robredo, said in a statement.

As the search and rescue operations for our beloved Sec. Jesse M. Robredo continue, we call upon all Naguenos, Bicolanos, and Filipinos to join us in prayer for the safety of the good Secretary and that of the two pilots as well.

According to news site Rappler.com, Mrs. Robredo said the family was "overwhelmed by the unbelievable outpouring of love and prayers for Jesse and our family."

She is in Naga City, Bicol with the rest of the Robredo family.

Aika Robredo, the secretary's daughter, meanwhile told reporters that she hoped for more definite news about her father by noon.

The government of Naga City, Bicol, which Robredo formerly served as mayor, meanwhile released this statement: "As the search and rescue operations for our beloved Sec. Jesse M. Robredo continue, we call upon all Naguenos, Bicolanos, and Filipinos to join us in prayer for the safety of the good Secretary and that of the two pilots as well."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options