3-person diving team spotted bodies

Ayee Macaraig
(UPDATED) The diving team that spotted the bodies of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two pilots

MASBATE CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – A three-person technical diving team composed of one British, an American, and a Filipino spotted the plane wreckage and bodies of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo one of the pilots Tuesday morning, August 21.

Divers Matt Reed, Sheila Cooley and Anna Cu Unjueng. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

Matt Reed was with two female co-divers backed up by a 4-person Philippine Navy diving team. The female divers were identified as  Sheila Cooley (American) and Anna Cu Unjueng (Filipino), according to Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang. (Editor’s note: Carandang earlier said Cooley is an American while Unjueng is a Fil-am. He corrected the information. We apologize for the error.)

Reed was briefing the government command center as of posting, and refused to talk to the media.

They belong to the Evolution diving group based on Malaspascua Island in Cebu. Friends of government officials who were in frantic search for technical divers were able to get in touch with them Sunday.

On Monday, the government dispatched a plane to Malaspascua to bring them here. The team began their first dive Monday afternoon, with Reed bringing an underwater camera that took relevant shots of the area where the wreckage was suspected to be located.

The team came back with underwater footage that was used as analysis Monday night by experts, who plotted the rescue effort for Tuesday morning, according to Communications Secretary Ramon Carandang.

On Tuesday morning, the team dived at 6 am, aided by more targeted and specific search details. At around 7.25 Tuesday morning, the divers saw plane’s fuselage and spotted one body, which they immediately brought to a Coast Guard vessel on standby.

Another Filipina diver, Eli Antonino, who was on the vessel, positively identified the body to be that of Robredo’s. This was around 7.45 am. Antonino used to work for Roxas and knows Robredo, according to Carandang.

Reed and company reported to the command center at around 10 am Tuesday. – Rappler.com