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University student drowns in sail boarding accident

Date Posted: 2004-02-26

A University of the Ryukyus student drowned Sunday while trying to rescue another student who ran into trouble while sail boarding on Nakagusuku Bay.

Officials at the 11th Maritime Safety Agency say they received a phone call informing them that two sail boarders were missing. The caller said that he was one of a group of university students that had gone sail boarding, and two of the group were missing.

While on the water, the weather changed suddenly, bringing strong gusts of winds and high waves. The waves and wind pushed three of the group out to sea, but one of the three managed to paddle back to the shore and call for help. A little later, still another student managed to reach the beach but the third, Hisataro Fujikura, a 34-year-old medical student, failed to return.

Other members of the group said Fujikura reached the beach first, then grabbed a life vest and headed back into the water to help other group members who had trouble making it to shore. He reached a female member and gave her the life vest, allowing her to reach the shore.

According to group members, a avery large wave had pushed Fujikura out to the ocean and he disappeared from sight.

A 11th Maritime Safety Agency rescue helicopter that arrived at the scene found Fujikura in the water, and recovered the body. He was pronounced dead of drowning at an area hospital.

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