ILOILO City – An Ilonggo nurse drowned in New Zealand.
The Philippine Embassy in New Zealand is now coordinating with authorities there for the issuance of a visa to a sister of the nurse, 26-year-old Kenny Cordova Espinosa, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Espinosa went swimming with friends at the popular Whangarei Falls on Jan. 11 when he drowned, according to Mary Batayola, a friend and flatmate of Espinosa.
The nurse was seen gasping for air when he reached the middle of the falls then disappeared in the waters.
“Tourists on site helped one another look for Kenny. Unfortunately they got exhausted and sadly gave up,” Batayola wrote in a crowdfunding webpage that sought to raise funds for the funeral service.
Espinosa’s body was retrieved the following day after a professional team of rescue divers from Wellington were called.
Espinosa, whose parents were deceased, provided for his younger siblings by working in Saudi Arabia as a registered nurse in 2015. After the expiration of his contract in 2017, he moved to New Zealand.
Here’s what Batayola posted in the crowdfunding webpage:
“Kenny Cordova Espinosa is a 26-year-old registered nurse from the City of Iloilo in the Philippines. He was the second of the four children of Teresita and Benny Espinosa.
“Kenny lost his father at the age of 11. Together with his two younger siblings, they grew up with the courage and hard work of their loving mother.
“He finished his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2012 and became a registered nurse nine months after.
“In 2013, he lost his mother to heart failure. Kenny considered it the toughest obstacle in his life.
“During that time, Kenny was working at the city hall of Iloilo and luckily with the help of her sister they were able to manage their funds to sustain their daily needs.
“In 2015, he worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a registered nurse. After his contract expired in 2017 he decided to pursue his nursing career in New Zealand.
“On Jan. 11, 2019 Kenny and his workmates took a road trip to Whangarei to have their summer outing and was very happy, according to his friends.
“After visiting the popular mermaid pool in Matapouri, they then headed to Whangarei Falls which is one of the most beautiful attractions in the country.
“Kenny got excited and told his friend to come and swim with him. His classmate Benjamin was with him during the trip. He told Kenny that he was too exhausted to swim but gave in to Kenny’s request to accompany him.
“When they reached the falls, they went for a swim but after a few minutes Benjamin told Kenny he had enough as he was too tired.
“Kenny, on the other hand, swam further and when he reached the middle of the falls, Benjamin saw him gasping for air and drowned.” (With a report from the Philippine News Agency/PN)