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Water accidents kill Tokyo tourist, scare five locals

Date Posted: 2011-07-14

A 28-year-old tourist from Tokyo has drowned while snorkeling at an Okinawa island, and five local men escaped serious injuries in another leisure accident off the coast of another island.

Ayako Sekisawa of Tokyo had been snorkeling at Ikei Island off Okinawa’s east central coast when she went missing. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Her body was recovered about 500 meters offshore from the Ikei Island oil refinery. Authorities at the Nakagusuku Coast Guard Office say Sekisawa did not wear a life jacket or other flotation device.

Only kilometers away, near the beach at Miyagi Island, another mishap with five men on body boards caused concern after they were swept out to sea by strong waves. Three managed to return to shore by themselves, but two others had to be rescued by Uruma City firefighters. One of the Okinawa City men, a 29-year-old who was taken to a hospital, was released following a checkup.

Authorities say winds were blowing at speeds of 10 meters per second, with waves towering two meters at the time of the incidents. High waves advisories had been in effect for all areas of Okinawa.

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