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Police look into Pinay’s drowning

04 October 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

Hong Kong police are still investigating the case of a Filipina described by her kin as a “strong swimmer” who was found drowned on Repulse Bay early on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Rufina Babtoog Canuto-Killip, 46, who reportedly lived in Tavistock 2, Tregunter Path in Mid-Levels, went missing the previous night after apparently going out on her own to swim.

A late-night swimmer reportedly called the police after finding Killip’s bag, slippers and other personal items on the beach at about 9pm on Wednesday night but she was not around.

When the police came they saw Killip’s wallet and ID card, and suspected that she was missing. An air and sea search was launched, but she was not found.

At 6:15am on Thursday, a swimmer reportedly called police to say he had found the body of a woman wearing a swimsuit and floating about 100 meters from the shore.

Killip was already dead when her body was recovered by firemen.

Filipino domestic workers living nearby said the police had shown them Killip’s HKID card and asked if they knew her. They also recalled hearing the government helicopters flying throughout the night searching for her.

According to the victim’s sister, Maximina Cuaresma, who is in the Philippines, their family was surprised to hear that Killip had drowned because she was a good swimmer, having learned how to swim while she was in college in Davao.

Cuaresma said her family used to live in Benguet, but has since moved to Isabela, where Killip also lives with her husband Eddie and their 15-year-old son. “Confirmed kaya na drowning ang cause of death, dati po kasi siya naglalangoy; laking Davao po siya,” said Cuaresma in a message to The SUN.

Asked about this, Vice Consul Bob Quintin who heads the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, said: “There are a lot of possible scenarios right now, but we’d rather not speculate since there are no eye-witnesses at this point”.

Another relative who posted in The SUN’s Facebook page in the name of “Undefeated Igorota,” confirmed Killip was a strong swimmer, and sought to quash speculations as to why she was swimming at night alone.

“She is our relative. She is a good and hardworking mother. She used to swim there alone whenever she (was) free and she (was) a good swimmer. But we accept the fact that this could be the verdict of heaven for her. This is a lesson to all not to (swim) alone. Do it in groups..” said the post.

Killip’s relatives say they have yet to be told on where her remains will be shipped to the Philippines, although her employers have committed to paying for the repatriation.

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