Filipino newlyweds drown in Maldives

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Leomer and Erika Lagradilla (Photo: Leomer Lagradilla/Facebook)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 14) — A Filipino couple drowned to death in the Maldives on Sunday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Leomer Lagradilla, 30, and his wife, Erika, 29, were declared dead on arrival at a hospital in the Maldives, a popular Indian Ocean destination.

The DFA, in a statement, said the couple were married on December 18, 2018 and left for their honeymoon in Maldives on January 9. They were snorkeling in a resort in Dhiffushi Island when they started drowning, it added.

"The DFA is in touch with the next of kin of the two overseas workers and has assured them of its assistance in the repatriation of their remains," the DFA said, as it expressed sympathies to the couple's families.

"The Philippine Embassy in Dhaka, which has jurisdiction over the Maldives, has been instructed to coordinate with authorities in the Maldives and in making arrangements for the repatriation of the two drowning victims who are both from Laguna."

Speaking to CNN Philippines Monday, Mhapolle Lagradilla, the sister of Leomer said they still do not know what exactly happened to her brother and his wife.

"We don't have the full details of what happened to them. I just read the article last night (about) what happened because the hotel cannot give us the full incident — what happened to my brother and sister," she said.

Lagradilla said the incident happened around 11 a.m. Sunday, Maldives time.

She added there were other tourists with the couple, but only her brother and sister-in-law were harmed.

"Magkasabay daw po, pero parang magkahiwalay po. Medyo malayo po kung saan po sila nag-start yung dalawang kasama. Based din po sa sinabi sa akin ng taga-hotel last night," she told CNN Philippines' Newsroom on Monday night.

[Translation: They went together with other tourists, but a bit far from where they started. That's also based on what the hotel told me last night.]

Lagradilla added no tour guide accompanied the couple.

"Ang sabi po e hindi naman kailangan ng tour guide kasi hindi naman ganun kalalim yung beach. Parang ang nabasa ko po sa Google, 10 feet lang po yung lalim, so hindi na po kailangan... Hindi naman po ganon kalalim so they don't need their... No need po ng tour guide," she said.

[Translation: It was said that the beach was not that deep, so there's no need for a tour guide. I read online that it was only 10 feet, so they don't need a tour guide.]

 

The couple's kin is now trying to raise over P1 million to bring their bodies home. The figure given to Lagradilla was $23,960.

"Kailangan po mag-down (payment) ng kahit anong amount para ma-process na po kasi pag wala pa pong down payment, hindi po mapo-process yung bodies nila, naka-stay lang po doon," Mhapolle said.

[Translation: A downpayment is needed to process the bodies because while there's no downpayment yet, the bodies stay there.]

She, however, said the company her brother worked for in Singapore partially shouldered the expenses to bring his body home. The couple's families and friends are now raising the remaining amount needed for the repatriation of their remains.

Authorities are investigating the incident, the DFA added.