‘Drowning victim swimming with brother when they got swept outside reef’

The Korean woman who drowned on Tuesday afternoon was swimming with her brother when they got swept outside the reef at Obyan Beach south of the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport, police said yesterday.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Lt. Jason Tarkong said the victim is a 33-year-old Korean woman, but her name is being withheld pending notification of the next of kin.

Tarkong said police responded on Tuesday at 5:03pm to a reported missing swimmer at Obyan Beach.

Tarkong said police met with witnesses and learned that the victim was swimming with her brother when they got swept outside the reef.

The brother made it back inside the reef, however the victim was then missing. The report did not mention whether the brother was injured or not.

Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services’ Search and Rescue Unit (SARU) was activated, while DPS Boating Safety Section Zodiac rescue boat was launched for the search operation.

Tarkong said at 6pm police officers recovered the victim on Obyan Beach with no pulse and not breathing

The victim was then transported to the Commonwealth Health Center’s emergency room where she was pronounced dead by a doctor.

A source said the victim was last seen at 4:30pm.

The incident happened despite Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres’ issuance of a special marine advisory due to Tropical Storm Sanvu. Torres advised the public and inexperienced mariners to avoid venturing to exposed reef lines and beaches, especially along west-facing shores, as rip currents were life threatening.

The governor also urged those operating smaller boats to avoid sailing.

Torres issued yesterday the same advisory, citing that surf will remain at hazardous levels through this morning, Thursday.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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