SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga - The death of a swimmer in Mt. Pinatubo’s crater lake last Wednesday has prompted the Department of Tourism (DOT) here to issue yesterday a warning that the lake has been found to contain “hazardous substances.”
According to the DOT regional office, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has found the Pinatubo crater lake to contain such hazardous substances such as arsenic, aluminum, boron, chloride, iron, manganese, sulphate and total solids that “may affect human health in various ways and may become fatal over an extended period of time.”
The Pinatubo’s summit, which has become a major attraction to tourists because of its deep crater lake, should “never to be treated like a resort playground for swimming, kayaking or aqua cycling,” it said.
“Tourists are forewarned never to stay close to the lakeshore as this poses a potential threat to one’s life due mainly to frequent occurrences of rock falls and landslides, especially during heavy downpour,” it added.
The advisory came in the wake of the drowning last Wednesday of 44-year-old overseas Filipino worker Roselito Julao, of Mabalacat, Pampanga, who died after diving into a deep section of the crater lake. He was rescued but did not survive.
Police said there were no signs that Julao was drunk or drowned, as he was rescued seconds after he failed to surface after diving.
Julao was the first to die in the crater lake which was formed after the Pinatubo eruption in 1991. Several tourists though died on the slopes of the volcano during rainy weather while attempting to trek to the summit.