US Navy sailor drowns on Tinian


A U.S. Navy sailor on assignment on Tinian died off the coast of the island over the weekend and the incident remains under investigation.

Lt. Commander Rick Moore, who is the public affairs officer for Joint Region Marianas in Guam, identified the victim as Gen Sun, 35, a Construction Mechanic Constructionman assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4 that is on Tinian to do preparatory work for the planned divert airfield that the U.S. military will build on Tinian.

Responding to an email inquiry from Saipan Tribune, Moore said that Sun was pronounced dead last Sunday at the Tinian Health Center after being found unresponsive on Tinian waters. He said it was a DPS Tinian Search and Rescue team that found Sun, after he was swept out to sea while snorkeling in the vicinity of a local beach. Sun was pronounced dead at the Tinian Health Center at 5:18pm. In accordance with Navy procedure, the cause of death is currently under investigation.

Sun, originally from Maryland, graduated from the U.S. Navy Recruit Training Command in the fall of 2019 prior to reporting to NMCB 4.

Moore said that Sun was part of a Seabee construction team deployed to Tinian to improve the island’s infrastructures like its roads, utilities, and the island’s waterfront as part of plans for the U.S. military to conduct training there and build a divert airport there.

CNMI Department of Public Safety spokesperson Dre Pangelinan has yet to respond to a Saipan Tribune inquiry about the matter.

The last fatal drowning incident reported in the CNMI was back in March 25, a 56-year-old Korean woman who was rushed to the hospital after being found face down in the waters near the World War II tank in Susupe.

The woman reportedly had a pulse when she was rushed to the Commonwealth Healthcare Center but died three days later in the CHCC Intensive Care Unit.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores 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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