Man drowns at Sugar Dock


56-year-old male was pronounced dead yesterday after drowning at the Sugar Dock.

The victim’s body was found floating outside the reef near Sugar Dock yesterday morning and he was pronounced dead at the Commonwealth Health Center that same day.

This came after the Department of Safety responded to several reports of near-drowning incidents over the weekend.

According to a DPS statement, DPS Dispatch received a call last Sunday, at approximately 5:51pm, reporting a capsized kayak and a missing occupant at Sugar Dock behind the Aquarius Beach Tower.

Boating Safety officers responded by sending a jet ski and a jet boat and found the kayak at approximately 6:30pm. It was empty.

Offices then launched a perimeter search for the victim.

According to the victim’s son, his father paddled out to fish just west of their picnic site at 3pm. When he checked on his father at 4pm, he was still OK and was still fishing. When he checked again at 4:30pm, he did not see his father or the kayak anywhere.

The victim’s son told police officers that he swam out to a group of kayakers anchored in the area who said they noticed a kayak had capsized beyond the reef a while back. The son swam back and called 911.

Officers spoke to another witness on the scene who said he saw the kayak capsize, but it appeared that the victim was getting back on and was OK. Officers continued their search on Sunday but were unable to locate the victim.

Yesterday at 6:45am, DPS received a call reporting a body floating outside of the reef near Sugar Dock. Boating Safety officers recovered the body at 7:05am and transported the victim to CHC. The victim’s identity was confirmed as that of the missing kayak operator and he was pronounced dead at 7:52am. The DPS statement did not identify the victim.

Also last Sunday at approximately 10:13am, DPS dispatch received another call reporting a family of four distressed swimmers also at the Sugar Dock behind the Aquarius Beach Tower. Boating Safety launched a rescue boat and made contact with the swimmers at 10:36am.

According to the 17-year-old female victim, she and her 18-year-old brother were drifting on a paddleboard. Realizing that they had gone too far out, the victim said she and her brother started to paddle back but the current was too strong.

Their 53-year-old father and 19-year-old sister paddled out to help them, but were also caught in the strong current.

A nearby paddler noticed the family in distress and called 911. DPS transported all four swimmers safely to the Smiling Cove Marina at 10:41am.

The family, from Koblerville, did not sustain any injuries during the incident.

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

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