A wedding lovingly planned a year ago and slated to be held in an island resort in the Philippines was marred by the death of the groom after he met his untimely death in a freak diving accident on Tuesday, August 2, 2016.
But the bizarre incident did not prevent the couple to push through with their wedding plans when the wedding ceremony was performed by a Baptist minister at the hospital bed before the groom expired several hours later, according to sources close to the couple.
Hans Adrian Campbell, a police officer of the Dallas Police Department and ChriselynBedolido, a US registered nurse whose parents hail from Tagbilaran City came all the way from Dallas together with their parents for the wedding and the groom’s birthday.
Campbell’s birthday was on August 3, 2016 with a dinner party at the Payag, BluewaterPanglao Beach Resort and a sunset wedding and reception at the same venue the next day.
Bedolido told the Chronicle, at the wake of her husband that together with their parents they were on a Discover Scuba Diving Experience Course offered by Piratas Diving Center in Alona Beach, Tawala in the shallow part off the seawaters of Dulho, Panglao.
Their diving group was separated into two groups with her husband and his dive buddy Norman Zheng who were under the supervision of a Spanish dive instructor, Juan Bonilla who was working for Piratas Dive Center reportedly owned by a Finnish couple Henri Helinew and FrelynRada.
According to witnesses, while Campbell and Zheng were in the water, a speedboat manned by Richie Cagandahan, 22 years old, single, suddenly crossed their path and hit the victims leaving them with serious head and body injuries.
Bedolido did not witness the incident since at that time she was underwater but heard screams when she surfaced.
Cagandahan was on his way to pick up a group of divers when he strayed into the diving area which at that time was not marked with red flags or warning buoys to indicate an ongoing diving activity.
The speedboat reportedly operated by Oceanholic dive center and owned by Koreans Do Sup Jung and Yong Soo Hong should have stayed clear 60 meters away from the diving area.
Campbell and Zheng were rushed to the Ramiro Hospital after Cagandahan brought them to shore on his speedboat. Campbell expired on Thursday, August 4, 2016 after life support system was taken off while Zheng is recuperating in the same hospital.
A grief stricken Bedolido told the Chronicle that the death of her husband would serve as an eye opener to those responsible for the diving industry in Panglao to raise their standards of safety for their clients.
Campbell and Bedolido met at a pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) restaurant in Westminster, California four years ago, according to the wedding registry site, TheKnot.com.
Campbell was worked with the Dallas Police Department since 2012 and served with the Texas Army National Guard, according to Debra Webb, spokeswoman of the Dallas Police Department, as reported by WFAA in Dallas.
Campbell’s remains lie in state at the Funeraria Gomez and will be flown back to the US for internment.
His unfortunate death is now the subject of an investigation from the Office of the Governor and the SangguniangPanglalawigan (SP) to determine the circumstances surrounding his death which according to those in the know could have been avoided.
Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio told the Chronicle that all assistance has been extended to the Campbell family for the wake and the transport of his remains back to the US even as a probe in the diving accident is still ongoing.
Also, the SP is set to conduct their own probe in response to a privilege speech of Board Member Kristine Alexei Tutor, Assistant Floor Leader and chair of the Tourism Committee.
Tutor expressed her deep sympathy to the Campbell family and raised serious concern on the state of the tourism business in Panglao especially the local diving industry. The body agreed to tackle the investigation, sitting as a committee of the whole with Tutor presiding as head of the lead Tourism committee.
Holger Horn, the president of the Panglao Association of Dive Operators(PADO) told the Chronicle “this was an accident waiting to happen”.
Horn, deeply disturbed by the unfortunate turn of events, in an interview with the Chronicle lamented the inability of the Local Government Unit (LGU) to impose discipline over the dive operators and take a hard look at the proliferation of unregistered seacrafts catering to tourists.
Horn also called on the LGU to implement the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) under Municipal Ordinance No. 11, series of 2014 stating among others the role of strict implementation of mandatory membership of all dive operators with PADO before the issuance of a business license.
The Chronicle learned that preferential treatment is given to dive operators perceived to be close to the present administration with the exemption from the mandatory membership with PADO.
Horn also lamented the failure of the LGU to implement a Coast Guard Memorandum requiring resort owners to put up buoys to delineate the areas for the safety of swimmers and the designation of confined areas for diving activities.
At present, PADO has close to 56 members, according to Horn.
However, WengLagura, municipal administrator of Panglao told the Chronicle that he will sit down with all the dive operators and PADO to review the present state of the diving industry and institute remedial measures and impose sanctions on erring operators.
Lagura also will look into the working arrangement of foreign dive masters and the legal status of foreigners operating dive shops in Panglao. (Chito M. Visarra)