Two men die in waters off Jonestown Overlook - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Two men die in waters off Jonestown Overlook

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by Mindy Aguon

Guam - In the last 12 months, there have been thirteen water-related fatalities.  Sadly on Christmas Day, the island's waters claimed two more lives.  And emergency officials are asking the public to use caution when heading out to the ocean over the next couple of months.

Two people died on Christmas after they were pulled from the waters off the Jonestown Overlook in Tamuning.  Guam Fire Department spokesman Lieutenant Ed Artero says just before four o'clock Tuesday afternoon, Search & Rescue Unit personnel were called to a report of three distressed swimmers. He explained, "The initial response we were able to take two out of the water. One was unconscious and one was conscious.  The unconscious one we performed CPR on the boat all the way to the Agana Marina and then all the way to Naval Hospital."

Artero says the male victim didn't survive.  Search teams from GFD, the Guam Police Department and the Coast Guard actively searched for the third swimmer. "Our rescue divers made a dive and within about fifteen minutes they were able to recover the third person that was in the water," said Artero.

Police released the identity of the two swimmers as Katwin Dois, 37, Edward Sotam, 40. Both were from Tamuning.

GPD spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia says the two men arrived to the Jonestown Overlook around noon on Christmas Day and joined two other relatives to drink beer and vodka at the fishing area.  Dois reportedly fell off the right side of the cliffline onto a rock platform and was knocked unconscious and swept out to sea.  Two of the men jumped into the ocean to help and a few minutes later; Sotam jumped in where the current was strong. The other two were able to retrieve Dois' body, but couldn't bring him to shore because the current was too strong and eventually one of them swam to shore to call for help.

Lieutenant Artero cautions residents and tourists alike to use caution especially with hazardous sea and surf conditions this time of year, noting, "Normally from December to February or March, the waters are pretty rough at this time, so there's some safety information that we can put for all boaters. Make sure they have a float plan with a family member to let them know their whereabouts of where they're going and expected time of arrival."

The fire department also urges boaters to know the capability of their boat, always wear lifejackets and have good communication. "Cell phones are good but they shouldn't be your only one. The Coast Guard is pushing is the VHF radio system called Rescue 21 - that's on VHF Channel 16 - and with that ability it's allows the Coast Guard to record transmissions and if there's an emergency they can triangulate your position."

Last week there was a capsized vessel leading to one drowning as well a death of a tourist who was swimming in Tumon Bay. Artero recommends always having a swim buddy, and never going over the reef without fins and a snorkel and a safety line.

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