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Boy drowns after being swept off river rocks

Date Posted: 2006-09-16

Rescuers Sunday recovered the body of a youngster killed after a surge of water knocked him off rocks on the Ujidomari River in Ginowan City.

Police say the boy, Yuu Maeda, had been playing with two school classmates on the rocks in the river when “suddenly too much water came from above us, and we got flowing.” The two survivors said “we all began falling, but the two of us managed to hold onto the rocks and get rescued.”

Eleven-year-old Maeda wasn’t so lucky. He was swept downriver in the Oujana area, where fire rescuers found him a few minutes after being called by a nearby neighbor who observed the accident. The youngster was alive when found, but died en route to a hospital.

The other two boys told authorities they had gone to the river Sunday morning to study the river itself, and the fish habitat. When rains began, they sought safety under a bridge. One boy said that suddenly, water came roaring at them, taking Maeda away. Normal water depth at the scene was normally only 30 centimeters, but officials say the downpour rapidly raised the depth to a meter.

It took nearly eight hours and a helicopter rescue unit for Maeda’s body to be recovered from the swollen river. The recovery took place near the Okinawa Convention Center.

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