MANILA - A 25-year-old tourist who died while on vacation in Coron, Palawan this month allegedly stepped on a sea urchin and not a stone fish, according to the victim's boyfriend.
In a Facebook post, Travis Millard said he is bothered by reports that his boyfriend, Miguel Ruiz, died of drowning or stepped on a stone fish.
"He did not drown. He did not step on a stone fish. The attached photo is exactly what Miguel's foot looked like when he was observed at Coron District Hospital. They dismissed the puncture wounds and didn't offer me any type of explanation," he said.
"After a thorough search and discussion with several marine and medical professionals, it is our best conclusion that he stepped on a sea urchin, not a stone fish," he added.
Millard said he is still awaiting the official autopsy results for the detailed toxicology report. "However it is important for me to clear the air about the stone fish and other suggested cause of death," he said.
He also attached a link to a 2010 article on the death of the son-in-law of TV presenter and former footballer Bob Wilson who contracted blood poisoning after stepping on a sea urchin.
Millard earlier scored tour guides in Siete Pecados in Palawan for failing to help Ruiz when he was in pain and dying.
In his Facebook post, Millard said he and Ruiz were snorkeling when Ruiz suddenly shouted in alarm.
"'I stepped on something and I'm having trouble breathing.' Those were his exact words," Millard recalled Ruiz as saying.
Millard said he called the tour guide for assistance who said they were probably just tired. He said he started performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Ruiz after a "frothy" substance started coming out of Ruiz' mouth.
"At that point I was furious because there was nobody assisting us, and I screamed, 'Help me! Help me, don't just watch, help me!' Finally, the tour guide came and helped his head, and every time I would blow air, he would be the one to help expel the vomit from his mouth," Millard said.
He added that there was no one in the group who had enough phone credits to make a call.
Ruiz was taken away on an ambulance as soon as they arrived on shore.
"In my experience, ambulance with paramedics, when you get the victim to the vehicle, they should immediately administer aid, but at this point, it was like a taxi of his death, because they just put him on the back, and they didn't do anything. They just began to drive," Millard said.
The door of the ambulance was also jammed, making it difficult for them to get out of the vehicle as soon as they arrived at the hospital.
Ruiz was declared dead on arrival at the hospital, with the doctor informing Millard that he had been dead for several minutes.
ABS-CBN tried to get the statement from the hotel where Ruiz and Millard stayed but the management refused to comment on the incident.
Based on the official report from the local police station in Palawan, Ruiz drowned. However, they said they are also looking at other possible reasons, including that of the victim stepping on a stone fish.