Fisherman died of cardiac arrest

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The fisherman who was reported earlier as having drowned near Micro Beach last Friday now appears to have actually died of cardiac arrest while fishing.

Ariel Maesa, a 50-year-old CNMI local of Filipino descent, died of cardiac arrest while he was spear fishing at Micro Beach last Friday evening, according to his wife, citing information given her by the Commonwealth Health Care Corp.

Maesa’s wife told Saipan Tribune that her husband was not drunk on the night of his death and was a licensed diver, certified in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, and an experienced fisherman, so she knew that it was impossible that he died by drowning.

“My husband was a good man. He [didn’t] drink, and he [had] no vices. He was also a licensed diver and had a lot of experience in spear fishing since he had been doing it since we were on Rota. The night of his death was the first time he went fishing here on Saipan,” she said.

Her hunch proved right when CHCC confirmed yesterday that the cause of Maesa’s death was not drowning, but cardiac arrest.

According to Maesa’s wife, Maesa was with three other fishermen, one of whom was his co-worker, on the night of her husband’s death.

Maesa’s wife said that she dropped off her husband at the fishing site at Micro Beach where Maesa and his companions had agreed to meet and that she waited at the Garapan Fishing Base at around 10pm where her husband said they would end up.

At around 10:48pm, she received a call on her husband’s cell phone asking where she was and if she was Maesa’s wife, and was informed that her husband had been brought to the emergency room but could not disclose over the phone why.

On the way to the Commonwealth Health Center, the wife said that she tried to reach out to her husband’s co-worker who had accompanied him to fish but she did not get a response. She later learned that they were still being questioned by police.

Police later called again and confirmed that her husband had been pronounced dead.

Upon arriving at CHC, nurses and doctors informed her that they did all they could, but he was dead on arrival.

Maesa’s body remains at the CHC morgue because funeral arrangements can’t be made due to the current government shutdown.

The following day, Saturday, Maesa’s wife was able to speak with her husband’s fishing companions and they informed her that they did not know exactly what happened to Maesa. All they remember was seeing him face down in the water, unresponsive.

Maesa’s wife said his companions were about 5 to 10 meters apart from each other and were depending on flashlight signals and they knew something was wrong when Maesa was no longer responding to their signals.

Maesa’s companions searched for him and worked together to pull him to shore while one called for help via cellphone.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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