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PNP starts probe on diver’s death

Police have ruled out foul play in the death of scuba diver Agnes Maria San Pedro over the weekend in Mabini, Batangas.

PO1 Genaro Magmanlac of PNP Mabini yesterday said preliminary autopsy reports showed that San Pedro died due to asphyxiation, the cause of which is still being investigated.

Magmanlac said they have no reason to believe that there was foul play since the victim was with her friends at the time of the accident.

“Puro mga kaibigan ang kasama,” said Magmanlac.

San Pedro was reported missing last Sunday following a successful 30-meter dive.

Her body was found on the sea bottom, 30 meters below the surface, on Monday.

Diving instructor Enrico Montes, who led the group of divers, declined an interview.

“I need to rest,” was Montes’ short reply.

In a Facebook message he posted yesterday, Montes wrote: “I’ll miss you buddy Agnes. I will forever cherish the good times that we had.”

Jasper Barcelon, spokesman of the search team, said Montes was visibly affected by the accident and had to be restrained from joining the search.

“Hindi siya natutulog and lahat gusto niya malaman while we were doing the (search) operation,” Barcelon said.

Barcelon said the diving community is in mourning, but scuba operations resumed except in the resort where the victim stayed.

“Malungkot pa rin ang community and still waiting for the result of the investigation,” he said. “Gusto rin naming malaman talaga kung ano ang nangyari kasi baka may matutunan pa tayo.”

Barcelon, a diving instructor himself, said even before the accident, they have been observing strict safety protocol.

“Very vigilant dyan ang dive professionals kasi ayaw nila may maaksidente o masaktan lalo na sa full-time instructors kasi ito na ang profession nila,” Barcelon explained.

The victim’s parents were visibly shocked when reached for comment yesterday in their Quezon City residence.

“Please respect our privacy,” pleaded the victim’s father.

Joanna Maria San Pedro, the victim’s sister based in California, wrote in her Facebook page:

“It is with deepest regret and sorrow that we announce the passing of our dear Agnes. We are so thankful for everyone’s overwhelming response for the search and rescue operations and the outpouring of love and prayers.”