6:45 am | Saturday, May 25th, 2013
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Russian tourist Mark Yuchyugyaev’s fascination with the majestic beauty of the Mayon Volcano proved to be costly, in more ways than one.
To rescue the Russian tourist who went on an unauthorized Mayon Volcano climb and was injured in the process, the government had to shell out at least half a million pesos.
Raffy Alejandro, regional direct of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol, said the government spent at least P520,000 during the two days of search and rescue (SAR) operation to extract Yuchyugyaev from a gully near the mouth of the volcano’s crater.
Alejandro broke down the expenses as follows: P450,000 for the fuel used by the two Philippine Air Force helicopters during the two-day operation, or a flying time of about three hours for each helicopter at a fuel cost of P75,000/hour, and food and supplies amounting to P70,000 for the four teams of 35 personnel dispatched during the search.
Alejandro said the bill for the entire exercise was charged to the Disaster Emergency Response fund of the PAF and the provincial government of Albay.
Yuchyugyaev, who is now hospitalized at the Bicol Regional Teaching and Training Hospital (BRTTH) for a broken ankle, told officials here that despite his accident, he would still want to scale the 2,600-meter-high Mayon Volcano in the future.
He said he was mesmerized when he saw the majestic Mayon Volcano in a tourist brochure, which made him decide to visit Albay and scale Mt. Mayon last Sunday.
Yuchyugyaev, 29, who went on a solo climb, had been stranded along the Miisi gully near the volcano’s crater since Tuesday, May 21, after he broke his right ankle when he fell while climbing the slopes, according to an earlier bulletin released by the Albay Public Safety Emergency and Management Office (Apsemo).
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