Technical divers of Cebu help find RobredoCebu Daily News
THE three “technical divers” from Malapascua Island, a popular diving spot in northern Cebu, succeeded in locating the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane used by Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, because of their training and experience, according to their associate.
Matt Reed, 35, a British partner in a dive resort called Evolution in Malapascua, was diving with Anna Cu Unjieng, 37, a Filipino, and Shelagh Cooley, 29, an American, when he found the plane’s fuselage and Robredo’s body yesterday morning at a depth of 55 meters (180 feet) in the Masbate Pass.
In a text message sent to the Inquirer last night, Reed declined to be interviewed. “Once the recovery effort is completed, then I will be happy to discuss. Thanks for your understanding,” he said.
His Irish partner, David Joyce, 39, said in a phone interview last Tuesday afternoon, that he would have wanted to join the Evolution team but his wife was to deliver their baby anytime soon.
Chief Supt. Vicente Loot said he was ordered by their headquarters in Central Visayas to contact the three divers to help in the search-and-rescue mission.
According to the Evolution website, technical diving goes beyond the limits of recreational diving—a maximum depth of 130 feet or 40 meters, no decompression and always having direct access to the surface.
This requires proper training and specialized equipment to be able to dive deeper, Joyce explained.
The divers must bring four tanks containing different gases, rebreather units and regulators (some for decompression use), he said.
A rebreather allows the gas a diver exhales to be processed so it can be inhaled again.
Joyce said that returning to the surface should be precise and slow, taking 90 minutes to two hours or three meters per minute.
Loot said he assisted Reed, Cu Unjieng and Cooley in carrying their diving equipment and facilitated their flight to Masbate last Monday on an Air Force plane.
A volunteer German technical diver named Danny Brumbach however, fell ill during the deep-sea search operations.
Reed started recreational diving at the age of 17 years and has been into technical diving since he was 21, Joyce said.
He became a certified diver in 1990 and completed his open water course in the Mediterranean on Gozo Island, his website said.
The London native went to Southeast Asia and has over 6,000 logged dives and hits the water almost every day.
He also teaches wreck diving, cave diving, mixed gas and rebreather courses. “Matt is probably the most experienced technical diver in the Philippines,” Joyce said. Inquirer