Man still not found

A U.S Coast Guard helicopter resumes the open ocean search for the missing Korean male who drowned at the Forbidden Island last Saturday. (Contributed Photo)

Search-and-rescue teams failed again yesterday to locate the 34-year-old Korean man who went missing after swimming with his wife in the waters off Forbidden Island in Kagman last Saturday.

The teams resumed the search yesterday at 7am and called it off at 5pm.

Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesman Derek Gersonde told Saipan Tribune last night that the search will resume today, Tuesday, at 7am.

Gersonde said six DFEMS search-and-rescue unit members did a cliffline search, while three others joined the Department of Public Safety’s Boating Safety Unit’s boat in the water search.

A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard in Guam also helped in the search yesterday.

The body of the Korean man’s wife was found Saturday at around 1:32pm near the Laolao Bay Golf & Resort clubhouse cliffline. She was taken to the hospital, but was pronounced dead at 2:40pm that same day.

Police received the call about the drowning on Saturday at 12:14pm. A witness who reported the incident said the couple failed to resurface.

A command post for the search operations has been set up at Laolao Bay.

In 2015, just a day after the people in the CNMI celebrated New Year’s Day, a 6-year-old girl reportedly drowned while a 16-year-old student also died when he jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue the girl and her sister after they and three others encountered rough waters and waves inside a cave at Forbidden Island.

Four students drowned in the same cave in March 2017.

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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

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