FIVE KAYAKERS MISSING OFF GUAM

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By Theresa Merto

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 29) – Search and rescue officials will continue their search this morning for five missing kayakers whose kayaks were overturned by powerful surf in the waters off Piti yesterday afternoon.

As of 7 pm the five men were still missing, said Guam Fire Department spokeswoman Firefighter Phyllis Blas. The three kayaks the men had been in were spotted by rescue officials, but only one of the kayaks was recovered.

Family members and friends at the scene last night identified the five men as Ed Uson, Keith Mendiola, Mike Bautista, John Aguon and Roland Jose.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Mike Munoz, a search and rescue coordinator, said the five men went out in three kayaks and departed near the Fish Eye Marine Park observatory.

At 3:24 pm the fire department received a 911 call of the missing kayakers, Blas said. Blas said the five men were employees of Guam Seawalker Tours.

"It is unknown as to why they got into their canoes and ventured out," Blas said.

The search was suspended last night because of limited visibility and rough water. Blas said rescue officials will resume their search "at first light" today.

The fire department, Guam Police Department, the Navy HC-5 helicopter squadron and the Coast Guard responded to the scene, Munoz said.

"HC-5 just happened to be in the area, they noticed that there were three kayaks in the water but there were no persons on board," Munoz said.

"The Coast Guard, along with Guam Fire and Rescue and some GPD personnel, are on the shore, conducting shoreline searches," Munoz said. "There were six Jet Skis inside the reef; two helicopters and GPD patrol were outside the reef."

No other information was available yesterday.

Meanwhile, a man who was swept over the reef in Tumon Monday morning has not yet been found, Blas said.

Witnesses saw the man walking along the reef line at Ypao Beach when he was swept over the reef. Blas said the search has turned into a recovery mission.

June 30, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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