Two dead, three rescued after two outrigger canoes capsize in rough seas

USCG Cutter Assateague - File Photo

GUAM – Two mariners are dead and three rescued after two outrigger canoes capsized in rough seas in Tumon Bay, Monday.

Watchstanders in Coast Guard Sector Guam were notified at approximately 5:10 p.m. Sunday by E911 dispatch that six mariners in an outrigger canoe overturned in rough seas and were missing.

The Coast Guard Cutter Assateague, a 110-foot patrol boat homeported in Apra Harbor, was diverted from a towing operation to assist with the search. A Navy aircrew from Helicopter Sea Combat Squad 25 also launched at 6 p.m. to assist.

Two of the canoeists reached shallow waters and were not in need of rescue.

The two remaining canoeists were stranded within a reef-line. A 31 year-old Good Samaritan in another canoe attempted a rescue, but was also overturned and became stranded with the others on the reef-line. Members of Guam Fire Department and Guam Police Department, piloting personal watercraft, immediately rescued all three.

The aircrew located one of the remaining canoeists at approximately 6:10 p.m. That individual was recovered by Guam Fire Rescue and pronounced dead. Due to unfavorable search conditions, the aircrew returned to base at midnight. Assateague crewmembers continued searching throughout the night.

The fire department launched a water asset at 6 a.m. and another at 8 a.m. to continue the search. The aircrew launched again at approximately 9 a.m. Fire department search teams recovered the last canoeists’ body outside the reef-line at approximately 11 a.m.

The Coast Guard advises all mariners to check local weather conditions before heading out and to wear life jackets. Life jackets greatly increase the chance of survival during maritime accidents which can occur suddenly and without warning.

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