TWO TOURISTS DROWN IN SAIPAN

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By Ferdie de la Torre

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 28) - Two tourists drowned in separate incidents Tuesday afternoon, with one drowning at Obyan Beach on Saipan and the other at Long Beach on Tinian.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Ken Concepcion said the victims were both Japanese male tourists. He refused to release their names pending notification of their next of kin.

A source, however, disclosed that the victim at Obyan Beach was 22-year-old Kiyohisa Ichikawa and the one on Tinian was 42-year-old Kazuto Nakao.

Concepcion said DPS Central received a call at 2:27 p.m. regarding a drowning incident at Obyan Beach. Concepcion said DPS Boating Safety personnel arrived at the area after a few minutes, but didn't see any people at the beach.

The boating officers walked east and spotted some snorkeling gear. The officers then saw an Asian man running toward them and pointing to the west.

At the westernmost end of the beach, the officers saw another Asian man kneeling next to the victim, who was lying on the rocks and "appeared lifeless."

Concepcion said the Boating Safety crew found that the victim had no pulse and was not breathing.

Medics arrived and transported the victim to the Commonwealth Health Center where a doctor pronounced him dead on arrival.

The victim and two other men had gone to Obyan that morning to swim. All were wearing snorkeling gear, except the victim. Later, the three got separated. When the two found the victim, he was already unconscious and was floating facedown in the water on the reef line. The water was rough at that time.

The two pulled the victim out of the water. As one tried to revive the victim, the other drove to a store where he called for help.

On the same day at 3:05 p.m., Tinian DPS received a call of a possible drowning at the Long Beach east of North Field.

When DPS personnel arrived at 3:20 p.m., they observed some medics trying to rescue the victim, who was in the water facing downward.

Because the water was rough, the medics also pulled out one man who tried to rescue the victim.

Tinian Boating Safety officers later arrived and conducted a search and rescue at 3:58 p.m., the victim's body was spotted 250 feet from the reef, with his face in the water. They managed to recover him.

The victim was transported to the Tinian Health Center where a doctor pronounced him dead on arrival at 5:25pm.

Witnesses said the victim was snorkeling inside the reef area; at that time, the water was rough and the current was strong.

Witnesses said the victim proceeded to the channel; they saw his head come up from the water twice. That was the last time they saw the victim, so they called police for help.

In March, a Japanese female tourist drowned on Rota, while a local man who went fishing in Tanapag, Saipan was declared brain dead.

On March 6, 2006, former Rota Resident Director for Finance Vicente S. Atalig drowned while fishing at the Swimming Hole Beach on Rota.

In February 2006, a Chinese male tourist drowned while swimming at Tachogna Beach in San Jose, Tinian.

June 29, 2006

Saipan Tribune: www.saipantribune.com

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