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Snorkelers disappear from near Kunigami Village

Date Posted: 2009-09-10

A party on a beach at the mouth of the Ie River near Kunigami Village turned deadly over the weekend, as two Naha City men vanished while snorkeling off the beach.

The body of one of the men was found on Wednesday morning by a fishing boat captain about one kilometer off Akasaki coast that is about three kilometers from the beach where the men went missing. The other victim's body was found by a local diver some 50 meters from the beach later on Wednesday.

A search had been going on since the the 11th Maritime Safety Agency (Japan Coast Guard) and the Kunigami Village Fire Station received reports of the missing men. Fire officials say the area where the men were last known to be is a special spot on the edge of a coral reef, where the tide flows quickly and changes suddenly as waters flow to the ocean.

The two men are Naha City office workers. Ryuichi Kadena, 23, worked in the city office promotion section, while 32-year-old Wataru Shishito was in the citizensí fixed benefits measures section. Kadena and Shishito were part of a 10-person group of Naha City office staff who got together for a barbeque. After eating, Kadena, Shishito and a third man went snorkeling, but only one came back to the group, telling them waves were too high and it was difficult to swim.

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