Rescue efforts to save tour guide trapped in Sagada cave continues

BAGUIO CITY — Rescuers in the municipality of Sagada have heightened their efforts to locate a tour guide who was believed trapped inside Victoria Cave following the gush of water on Sunday afternoon, the municipal tourism officer said on Monday.

Municipal Tourism Officer Robert Pangod in a telephone interview said joint operatives from the police, rescue groups have been doing the rescue and retrieval effort since Sunday afternoon, after companions of Roderick Malecdan, the missing tour guide, reported the incident.

He said that as of Monday noon, Malecdan is still missing.

He related that seven tour guides went inside Victoria Cave for still unknown reason. Victoria Cave is not one of those being promoted by the local government unit of Sagada as a tourist destination.

He said that based on the report of the Sagada Municipal Police Station, the seven tour guides entered Victoria Cave located in Sitio Maduto, Barangay Angkeling, Sagada to conduct exploration activities. While inside, the water level increased. Four were able to immediately go out. They reported the incident to the police who launched a rescue operation. They were able to rescue two more around 6:45 in the evening of Sunday but Malecdan remains missing.

Pangod said Sagada has been experiencing rains the past days, which could have caused the gush of water to go inside Victoria Cave.

Sagada is known for spelunking in the Cordillera as its caves are endowed with rock formation of different shapes that attract local and foreign tourists.

Only Sumaguing and Lumiang Caves are open for spelunking activities. Its crystal caves have been closed to public and the Victoria Cave is one of the still to be explored areas but has yet to be included by the local government as a destination. Liza T. Agoot/