View Full Version : Rise in sea-related deaths shock island

01-03-2012, 10:03 PM

Just one day after the New Year started, a group of young paddlers made their way out to Tumon Bay to take advantage of the unusually high waves.

The National Weather Service had issued a high surf and small craft advisory for the island's north- and west-facing reefs.

Hours later, two would be dead after powerful 10- to 20-foot waves overturned their outrigger canoe.

Kayleen Mendiola, 21, who was studying business at Guam Community College, was pulled from the water lifeless.

The body of George Washington High School graduate Ryan Cepeda, 18, was found about 100 yards outside the reef after being missing for nearly 18 hours.

Later that month, two fishermen went missing off the coast of Ipan. Fire and police personnel searched for Joseph Castro and Evan Paulino for about a week before suspending the search. The two were net fishing near First Beach when waves overcame them and swept them into the ocean.

The fishermen went missing in waves that were about 6 to 7 feet, with some occasionally rising to 8 feet -- less than average for east coast waves.

Just a month later, in February, 31-year-old athlete Steven Alcantara died when he was thrown into the waters off Umatac Bay while he was riding a motorized watercraft.

Alcantara was a well-known local athlete who pitched for the Bank of Guam Athletics and Missouri Valley College baseball teams.

He had also achieved success in the football arena, as a wide receiver for the Pepsi Warriors football team, and worked as a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam.

In June, Charade Kila, 46, was pulled to the water near Matapang Beach, and was taken to Guam Memorial Hospital in critical condition. Kila later died after being taken off life support.

In one of the most bizarre water-related deaths, a local fisherman died after being struck by lightning while fishing off of the reef near Paseo De Susana in Hagta. In October, Edward Cruz San Nicolas, 59, was found facing the shoreline, floating in shallow water. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola later confirmed electrocution was the cause of death.

Then, on Christmas day, a Department of Parks and Recreations lifeguard and an off-duty firefighter, pulled a 72-year-old Japanese tourist from the waters near Guam Nikko Hotel in Tumon. He died a day later, marking the eighth water-related death in 2011.


These were all unfortunate incidents that occurred last year. When I first saw the headline " Rise in sea-related deaths shock island" I was expecting an indepth story with facts being presented in relation to the year 2011 unfortuantely this was not the case.

K38 Rescue
01-12-2012, 08:51 AM
You sure have your hands full on Guam. There are so many stories coming out of the Bay that are tragic. I guess you will be busy this year for drowning prevention and intervention. Too bad, many of these families could have been spared the grief and stress if folks were better prepared.