Three members of family drowns, one rescued in Miyako
A rip current swept four members of a family from Hyogo Prefecture out to the sea Monday afternoon, off Toguchi-no-hama on Irabu Island, Miyakojima City. Three members of the family died and one was rescued.
According to Miyako Police, Shigekazu Kamei, a 47-year-old businessman, his 72-year-old father-in-law Shinsuke Ieiri, Kamei’s 12-year-old first son, Rintaro, and his 8-year-old daughter had gone snorkeling off the beach, when they were caught by a rip current and carried out to the sea.
According to witness accounts, the daughter had said, “I cannot dive into the sea and see what’s down there,” and then took off her life jacket. She was subsequently swept out offshore. Her father and his father-in-law went after her to try to save her, but were also carried out and went under water. The 12-year-old son is also thought to have removed his life jacket before being swept out.
Other swimmers in the area saw what happened and found the father and father-in-law shortly. They were taken to a local hospital, but resuscitation efforts failed and they were confirmed dead.
The 12-year-old son was found about two hours after he went missing. He was confirmed dead at the hospital.
The 8-year-old daughter was rescued and is safe.
The family of six had come to Miyako Island for vacation earlier on the same day, Aug. 10th. Toguchi-no-hama is usually considered a relatively safe area for swimming and snorkeling as the waves there are usually gentle. On the day of the accident, about 2-meter-high surf was rolling towards the beach because of a typhoon had passed the area a few days earlier.