No updates on missing SUV driver

Posted on Oct 30 2019


With social media and the community grapevine already abuzz with the identity of the driver of an SUV that drove over the Marpi cliff into the sea last Saturday, the Department of Public Safety continues to withhold the identity of the victim, even as the search entered its fourth day yesterday with still no sign of a body being found.

DPS spokesperson Adrian Pangelinan said the victim’s identity will only be released once the victim’s family and next of kin have been briefed about the case.

DPS continues to search for the victim in the case. Pangelinan confirmed that search teams are still investigating the scene at Banzai Cliff.

DPS received a call late Saturday of an SUV driving over the Marpi cliff line at Banzai Cliff. DPS, together with the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Navy, searched the area since Saturday and only found the underwater vehicle on Sunday. No body was found.

The vehicle was identified as a white, tinted, 2006-2012 Toyota RAV4 and the owner’s identity was not disclosed last Monday.

On the first day of the search last Saturday, DPS officers noticed damage to World War II monuments and car parts around the cliff line. Officers also noticed items that appeared to be clothing and a bag drifting in the current. A video of the floating items later surfaced on social media.

DPS and DFEMS rescue boats were deployed and they searched the area Saturday night, but it was later called off due to rough waters and it was already getting dark.

Search efforts continued on Sunday with DPS divers twice scouring the waters off the cliff, while DPS and DFEMS rescue boats coordinated with the USCG and the U.S. Navy. Banzai Cliff was closed off Sunday as DPS, DFEMS, USCG, and the U.S. Navy continued the search for the victim.

Rescue teams were able to retrieve the vehicle from the water, but no victim was found inside it. The search was called off at 5pm Sunday, with no signs of the victim.

Search efforts continued on Monday, with DPS boats and its Search and Rescue Unit searching further north and Wing Beach, while USCG boats and helicopters scoured the oceans within the scene. No victim was found and searches were called off.

Pangelinan confirmed that DPS is still working with DFEMS and USCG to find the victim, but have not found a body as of yesterday.

Marc Venus | Reporter
Marc Venus is the Saipan Tribune's public health and education reporter. He has an associate degree in Applied Sciences in Computer Applications and is working on his bachelor’s degree at the Northern Marianas College. Contact him at

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