Tourist drowns at Lau Lau Bay

Group of Japanese bystanders tried to rescue male victim

Another drowning case happened on Saipan. This time the incident occurred Friday afternoon at Lau Lau Bay involving a 32-year-old male Chinese tourist.

The victim, Tian Tao, was pronounced dead at the Commonwealth Health Center at 2:24pm.

Derek Gersonde, spokesman for the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Servicen, said an investigation showed that Tao and his wife had gone to Lau Lau Bay that afternoon on a rented a vehicle and without a guide. Tao went swimming while his wife stayed ashore.

The wife later shouted for help after noticing that her husband, who had gone underwater near the reef, failed to surface after several minutes. A group of male Japanese bystanders swam to the spot and pulled the victim to shore.

A DFEMS ambulance responded after receiving a 911 call at 1:55pm.

Gersonde said DFEMS emergency medical technicians tried to revive Tao in the ambulance, performing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on him until they reached CHC at 2:18pm.

Witnesses said a group of teenagers carried the victim from the reef to the shore. Police and an ambulance then arrived. Medics applied CPR for a few minutes, then transported the victim to the hospital.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Jacqueline Rae Shepard said yesterday that when DPS officers arrived at the scene, they found the victim motionless on the beach.

Shepard said the officers immediately performed CPR on the victim until the DFEMS medics came and brought the victim to CHC.

Shepard said that, according to witnesses, the victim and his wife arrived at the beach at 1:30pm. She said the victim swam out toward the channel while his wife stayed ashore. Soon after, the victim yelled for help as he was being pulled out to open water.

The wife signaled four other swimmers for help, and the four swam out to the channel in an attempt to rescue the victim. The swimmers found the victim floating motionless and pulled him back to shore and called police.

Shepard said that CHC personnel also tried to revive the victim but failed to do so.

Last Feb. 23, a 25-year-old Korean male tourist who was swimming with three companions was swept by a wave at Forbidden Island in Kagman. Search and rescue team backed up by a Navy helicopter failed to locate the body.

Last Jan. 13, a Korean tourist drowned while her husband was swept by waves and could not be found at Forbidden Island.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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