A 60-year-old Russian male tourist drowned while snorkeling outside the reef of Obyan Beach on Monday.
Department of Public Safety spokesman Sgt. Thomas Blas Jr. said yesterday that the body of the victim, Gennadi Kosolapkin, was located at 9:40pm by a Guam U.S. Coast Guard Rescue 5 helicopter about two and a half nautical miles south of Obyan Beach.
Blas said the body was brought to the Commonwealth Health Center where a doctor pronounced the victim dead at 10:43pm.
The victim's wife told police that they were snorkeling in the waters of Obyan when Kosolapkin went outside the reef alone.
The wife later returned to shore and sought the assistance of a diver to help her locate her husband.
The diver went out and later came ashore to inform her that he can't locate the tourist. At that point, the wife called 911 for assistance.
Blas said patrol police officers and Boating Safety officers responded to the emergency call at 5:02pm Monday.
Boating Safety's Zodiac II vessel was launched from Smiling Cove Marine for the search and rescue operation. At Obyan Beach, responding police officers met the victim's wife, who told them about the incident.
The officers then conducted an area search by the shoreline as well as a visual search in the waters but failed to find the tourist.
Police Sgt. Edward Ayuyu set up a temporary command post at the beach in order to coordinate the search efforts of other responding agencies. Ayuyu later relocated the command post to Ladder Beach to obtain better communication signals.
Members of DPS Fire Search and Rescue Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security, Emergency Management Office, and the American Red Cross joined the search.
At 7:30pm, the Rescue 5 helicopter arrived and conducted an aerial search using night vision equipment and a datum marker buoy. Datum marker buoys provide real-time current drift data that is used by the Coast Guard to establish probable search locations.
The helicopter located the victim's body at 9:40pm.
The body was retrieved and taken to the Saipan International Airport, where medics transported him to CHC. Dr. Florencia Schenker then pronounced the victim dead.