The CNMI reported its first fatal drowning this year after a local man was swept out to sea while spearfishing with friends.
According to sources, the 54-year-old local man had gone spearfishing with three others last Saturday and had been swept out to sea. It was learned that the man’s body was later recovered.
The Department of Public Safety has yet to release an official report of the incident, but a Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services news release confirmed the incident.
According to the source, the four men had gone spearfishing at the Lower Base beach last Saturday evening. After a while, three of the four decided to venture into deeper waters. The source stated that the victim decided to stay near the shoreline.
Later that evening, when the three men returned to shore, they were unable to find their companion. The men said they went back out into the ocean and searched for their friend, but their search proved fruitless. The men decided to call authorities soon after.
According to the source, DPS Boating Safety officers recovered the body of the victim on Sunday.
In a separate news release about the search and rescue mission, DFEMS states that a female caller reported an overdue spearfisherman at the Lower Base beach, behind the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. Power Plant, on Sunday, March 26, 2023, at approximately 12:01am. She reported that four men had gone out and only three returned from their dive.
According to dispatch, at around 6:23am, the DPS Boating Safety Section retrieved a speargun west of the power plant.
“Sadly at 7:46am, the Boating Safety Section recovered the overdue spearfisherman and brought the individual to the Smiling Cove Marina where they met with the family. The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services expresses its sincerest condolences to the family of the spearfisherman,” states the news release.