MANILA, July 19, 2011 (AFP) â€“ The bodies of a U.S. diving instructor and a Hong Kong tourist who went missing while exploring an underwater World War II wreck in the Philippines have been recovered, police and rescuers said Tuesday.
The tourists remains were retrieved from inside the USS New York off the Subic Bay free port late Monday, while the dead American was brought ashore Tuesday, local police officer Jose Llaves told AFP.
Steve Brittain, an instructor with Johan Dive Shop in Subic Bay, took Hong Kong tourists Tin Shun-chuen and Chow Fung-lung diving at the popular wreck on Sunday, police said earlier.
However only Chow emerged from the expedition. He told police he lost track of Brittain and Tin because of poor visibility as they swam through the wreck, forcing him to surface.
Nino Palmiano, a staff member for the Boardwalk Dive Shop in Subic whose dive masters took part in the search and rescue effort, told AFP that Brittain was a popular and experienced diving instructor in the area.
I know that he was previously with the U.S. Navy, Palmiano said.
The USS New York was scuttled in 27 meters (90 feet) of water by U.S. forces based at the then U.S. naval base ahead of the Japanese World War II invasion, according to local dive shops.
The wreck is home to colourful sea creatures such as barracuda, lionfish, groupers, lobsters, octopus, and rays, they said. â–