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One diver die, two in coma in freak accident at Izena

Date Posted: 2003-06-28

Four people on a diving tour were found unconscious following a night on board a diving boat moored at Nakada Harbor at Izena Village. All four were taken to a local hospital where one, a 55-year-old man from Tokyo, was pronounced dead. Two are still unconscious and one woman from Naha City was resuscitated.

Police say the group of seven tourists on a diving tour and a crew of five had started their tour from Aja Port in Naha City on Friday. After a day of diving off Iheaya Island, they moored at Nakada Port in the evening. After dinner, six of the group headed for a "minshuku" or Japanese inn for the night, while the rest decided to spend the night on board. Four of those went inside the cabin while two, the captain and one of his crew slept outside on the deck. When the captain woke up in the morning he found all four in the cabin unconscious and called the ambulance and police.

Police suspect the four were overcome by carbon monoxide from a portable gasoline-powered generator that was used to power the air-conditioner. The captain told investigators that it had been the first time for them to use the generator.

The deceased tourist had been on his eighth trip to Okinawa. "He was my best customer and a friend, and now he is gone, killed unnecessarily on my boat," the severely distraught captain said. Police continue their investigation into the cause of the accident.

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