Sussex pensioner found dead after drowning while diving in the Philippines
A British pensioner has been found dead after drowning while diving in the Philippines.
Derek Arthur Silverthorne, 79, from Brighton, was last seen alive swimming in the crystal clear waters of the secluded Bisucay island in Cuyo, Palawan province on Saturday morning March 25.
However, a passing ferry called 'Milenyo' later spotted Derek, also known to friends as Bill, unconscious as he drifted on the surface of water shortly before noon at 11:30 a.m.
The expatriate, who was part of the local watersports association, was wearing a rash guard diving top and flippers when officers retrieved him. Coastguards attempted to revive him with CPR but to no avail.
His body was taken to the Cuyo District Hospital, where medics confirmed he was dead.
A spokesman for the Coast Guard Eastern Palawan said: "Personnel of the Coast Guard Station Eastern Palawan (CGSEP) pulled up a foreign tourist from floating in the ocean after they received information about a floating body in the passage of the seafront.
"The man was immediately given chest compression while running the route back to the port of Cuyo, Palawan, but he could not be revived.
"Upon arrival at the said port, the man was immediately rushed to Cuyo District Hospital using the vehicle of the said station though he was declared 'dead on arrival' by the designated doctor."
Bill's best friend Jimmy from the Cuyo Watersports Association said: ‘We are arranging his funeral to be held tomorrow, March 30, here on the island. We still can't believe what happened to him.
"Bill was the happiest person I knew. He loved the sea and loved diving. I cannot give any more details about how he died."
Local businesswoman Daziella Young said on March 26 that Derek, popularly known as ‘Bill' by the islanders, had been staying in the tropical developing country for more than a decade.
She said: "In our Island of Cuyo, Palawan, a British bachelor lived for more than 15 years since 2008 at our humble pension house.
"For us, he was part of the family. He was our first-ever tenant. We love you so much Bill, that it breaks my heart to know you left us so suddenly."
The grieving friend informed that Derek, or Bill's, wake would be held in her home to follow the Englishman's wishes.
She added: "His wake will take place at our home in Villa Gange, Catadman, Cuyo, Palawan. We contacted his next of kin and the UK embassy because he wanted to be buried in his beloved Cuyo Island-his second home."
His funeral is still being arranged as Derek's local friends coordinate with the embassy.
Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...