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Hiker’s body retrieved from site of rockslide

/ 12:04 AM January 04, 2015

SAN ANTONIO, Zambales—It took 24 hours and the help of more than 50 people to finally recover the body of a tourist who was killed by falling rocks here on New Year’s Day.

On Friday, rescuers pulled out the body of Ronnie Echavez, 25, of Sta. Cruz, Manila, which was pinned by a boulder the size of a car.

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Echavez was island-hopping with a dozen friends through Zambales province when a rock slide struck as they trekked through Capones Island, killing him instantly and seriously injuring three of his companions, police said.

Work to recover Echavez began Thursday noon but rescue volunteers had to stop due to bad weather in the area. They also needed to get heavier tools to remove the body.

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“The boulder was so huge the rescue team could not pull the body which was trapped beneath,” said Erwell Sadernas, barangay captain of Pundaquit, which is the jump-off point to Capones Island.

A rescue team composed of personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection and the town’s engineering office, barangay officials and volunteers from nongovernment organizations helped recover Echavez’s body.

“This is the first time someone has died on the island. We didn’t have rock slides in the past,” Sadernas said.

Margie Apurit, who was part of the group tour, said the wind was too strong on the island when the rock slide struck. “We also saw a huge wave hit the bottom of the cliff before the boulder hit us,” she said. Allan Macatuno, Inquirer Central Luzon

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TAGS: Accident, Ronnie Echavez, Zambales
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