The body of the Ati chieftain in Boracay, who went missing for three days, was recovered on Saturday.
Ernesto Coching, chieftain of the Malaynon Ati Tribe Association, went missing after his fishing boat collided with a speedboat in Boracay on April 5, according to John Sala’s report on GMA Regional TV One Western Visayas, which aired on “24 Oras Weekend” on Saturday.
Coching’s body was retrieved by boatmen in the waters off Malay, Aklan, near Sitio Airport in Barangay Caticlan.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos joined 35 local and foreign divers in underwater search operations.
Despite the strong underwater current, Abalos said they dove 15 to 25 meters deep and covered a search area with a radius of half a kilometer to look for Coching's body.
An aerial search was also conducted.
“Tayo po ay lubos na nakikiramay sa pamilya Coching (Our deepest condolences to the Coching family),” Abalos said in a statement on Saturday.
The family of Coching also received assistance from Abalos.
Meanwhile, Coching’s companion, Ricky Valencia, was already discharged from the hospital.
A complaint will be filed against the speedboat's captain for leaving the victims in the water and taking only the two guests to the hotel.
Based on the hotel's protocols, the safety of the hotel guests should come first if such incidents happen in the sea.
The Aklan Provincial Police said the protocol must be reviewed.
The hotel has yet to make a statement about the incident. —VBL, GMA Integrated News