8th drowning victim this year

Department of Public Safety’s Boating Safety Unit divers recovered the body of a man who reportedly drowned while spear fishing outside the reef of San Antonio Beach yesterday afternoon.

DPS Commissioner Robert A. Guerrero confirmed the incident with Saipan Tribune last night, describing the victim as an “Oriental” male.

Guerrero said Boating Safety Unit divers retrieved the body from underwater outside the reef near Pacific Islands Club between 4:30pm to 5pm.

Guerrero said the initial information he received was that Division of Fish and Wildlife personnel were patrolling the San Antonio beach area when they spotted an unattended fishing gear floating outside the reef line.

He said Fish and Wildlife personnel then investigated as to why a spear gun and a buoy were floating unattended. The Fish and Wildlife personnel discovered the body underwater between 2pm and 3pm. DPS Boating Safety was then called and the rescue boat was launched.

The Commonwealth Ports Authority Harbor Patrol also responded to the scene.

Guerrero said Boating Safety divers retrieved the body and transported it to the Commonwealth Health Center.

DPS is expected to release more details about the incident to the media today, Thursday.

Based on Saipan Tribune records, that would make this latest case the eighth ocean/beach drowning this year on Saipan.

Last Sept. 17, Department of Fire and Emergency Management Services Rescue swimmers found the body of 21-year-old Aiwayne Sagun, who was reported missing after he went swimming, but was pulled out to the ocean by the strong current at Bird Island in Marpi a day before.

Police said Sagun asked his female friend to take a video of him jumping into the water and swimming to shore, but he could not swim back to safety as the strong current swept him out to the sea.

Last Aug. 29, a 33-year-old Korean woman drowned when she and her brother got swept to the sea while swimming outside the reef at Obyan Beach, south of the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport. The brother survived by swimming back inside the reef.

Last July 16, a 26-year-old man who went fishing with a companion was later found dead, believed to be due to drowning, in the ocean near the Gov. Eloy S. Inos Peace Park in Puerto Rico, Saipan.

Last June 13, a 15-year-old Korean male student reportedly drowned while spearfishing at Sugar Dock in Chalan Kanoa. DFEMS and DPS Boating Section Unit personnel found the boy’s body floating in the channel.

Last May 4, a 71-year-old Korean man drowned while swimming at the beach of Kensington Hotel in San Roque, while a 50-year-old Japanese man also drowned while scuba diving at Laulau Bay.

Last Jan. 26, 53-year-old Isidro Wabol, who had gone swimming, was later found dead outside the reef at Sugar Dock in Chalan Kanoa.

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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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  • RussMason

    Small correction. Asian people are not “Orientals.” Only rugs are “Orientals.” The people are ASIAN.

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