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Coron halts activities in lake after 2 Czechs drown

CORON, Palawan—The Coron municipal government has temporarily stopped all tourism activities, particularly diving, in Kayangan Lake after two Czechoslovakian nationals died from drowning last week, local officials announced.

OIC Mayor Joseph Armstrong Palanca ordered the temporary closure of Kayangan Lake from all tourism operations pending the establishment of enhanced security measures, signage, deployment of additional safeguards and reiteration of compliance to existing ordinances by tourism stakeholders.

The suspension of tourism activities in Kayangan Lake came on the heels of a drowning incident that killed Martin Sefcik, 28, and Jakub Brazda, 24, all Czechoslovakian nationals, last March 13, when they went “free diving” there.

A search-and-rescue team of the Philippine Coast Guard found the bodies of Sefcik and Brazda at a depth of 21.8 meters on the sea floor after an hour of underwater search.

Councilor Michael Sadhwani, who chairs the municipal council’s committee on tourism and heritage, said the victims “might have gone beyond the expected activities in Coron’s most popular tourism destination.”

The PCG said the victims went “free driving” on their own in the lake after they parted from their 13 other companions on that day.

Free diving, also called as “breath-hold diving” or “skin diving,” is a form of underwater diving that relies on the diver’s ability to hold his breath until he resurfaces without the aid of breathing apparatus, such as scuba gear, said LCdr. Adrian Vargas, Coron’s PCG commander.

Sadhwani said he was “not sure” when the operations in Kayangan Lake will resume.

What was certain, he said, is that the lake “needs additional lifeguards, public display signages that warn visitors of do’s and don’ts, and for the management to have its own trained drivers, who will form a search-and-rescue team in case similar incidents happen.”

The Czech Embassy was immediately informed about the accident, and that the municipal government is just waiting for go signal to transport the remains of Sefcik and Brazda.

Topics: Coron municipal government , Czechoslovakian nationals

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