By Philippine News Agency
Municipal government authorities in the scenic town of Coron temporarily suspended tourism operations in Kayangan Lake following a recent drowning incident that involved two Czech nationals.
The suspension of operations in Kayangan Lake, one of two that are popular in Coron, was announced late Thursday afternoon by Sangguniang Bayan Councilor Mike Sadhwani, who is also the chairperson of the Committee on Tourism.
Sadhwani told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) that a conference was immediately called following March 13, the day of the drowning incident in Kayangan Lake that killed Czech nationals Martin Sefcik, 28, and Jakub Brazda, 24 – both male, to discuss the issuance of a memorandum of operation stoppage.
The chairperson of the tourism committee in the Sangguniang Bayan of Coron said they are not sure when operations will resume.
What is certain is that the popular lake “needs additional lifeguards; public display signs that tell visitors dos and don’ts; and for the management to have its own trained divers, who will form a search and rescue team” in case a similar incident happens.
“For now, Kayangan Lake is temporarily closed. Only temporarily closed until the management is able to meet the requirements that the municipal government is looking for, for additional safety of the tourists,” Sadhwani said, adding it is also to give way to investigations by authorities
Accordingly, the Calamian Tagbanua indigenous peoples of Coron have rights over their ancestral domain. Since Kayangan Lake is within this territory, their leadership forms a major part of the management.
Sadhwani said 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.
Initial investigations by the Coast Guard Station Coron (CGSC) revealed that on March 13, the two Czech nationals visited the lake with 13 others to snorkel and do free diving in Kayangan.
When the group was about to go home, Sefcik and Brazda went missing under the lake.
Their lifeless bodies were found by elements of the CGSC more or less 8 p.m. of the same day after an hour of “scouring the seafloor” of Kayangan. They were located approximately 50 meters left side of the wooden platform entrance that has a depth of 21.8 meters.