Canadian man goes missing in Dominican Republic
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, December 31, 2007 10:17PM EST
VANCOUVER - The Canadian embassy in the Dominican Republic is being blasted by friends of Hady Quan, 32, for not doing enough to find the Vancouver businessman, who disappeared Friday in the waters outside a luxury resort.
Quan was swimming with girlfriend Tiffany Weiland at the Excellence Punta Cana Resort and Spa on the island's east coast. They heard a man screaming in the distance.
Quan and Weiland swam out to help him and were caught in a riptide, their friend Marius Purcel said from Vancouver. Rescuers on boogie boards recovered the swimmer, who is believed to have drowned, but Quan was nowhere to be found. Weiland made it back to shore, according to Purcel.
Three days later, friends and family of Quan have been conducting their own search without much help from the Canadian embassy in Santo Domingo, Purcel said.
"We need help and they are not helping us,'' he said. "They said they cannot do anything until the very next day (after he went missing), and the very next day they did not do anything.''
Purcel said the search has involved rented boats, all-terrain vehicles and even helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard in Puerto Rico, mostly financed by friends and family. Searchers spent Friday night patrolling the beach in Punta Cana on ATVs in case Quan's body washed up on shore.
The most recent search efforts have been concentrated on a reef with underwater caves south of the resort, Purcel said, where some friends with diving experience have gone to look for the missing man.
Purcel criticized the four-star resort.
"What happened here is not only a freak accident, it denotes the lack of organization from the resort itself to deal with something like this,'' he said. "No canoes, no nothing to go out and look for him.''
The resort did not return calls last night.
Friends and family of Quan still hope to find him.
"We are really involved 100 per cent into locating our friend and if that means we're going to find him dead, that doesn't matter. We still believe he's alive,'' Purcel said.
Calls to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian embassy in the Dominican Republic were not returned yesterday.