Man swept out to sea in Saipan; HSC-25, Public Safety conducting search


Update: the HSC-25 helicopter returned to Guam shortly after 12pm Monday after searching for 4 hours in Saipan with no results.

The Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron-25 was called out for a rescue Monday morning.

The chopper and search crew, based out of Andersen Air Force Base, headed to Saipan, where initial reports indicated one swimmer got swept out to sea, late Sunday afternoon. 

The CNMI Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued a statement Monday morning, saying they received a 911 call on Sunday around 5pm, reporting a distressed swimmer that slipped and fell into the waters at the infinity pool in Asteo, Saipan.

DPS said the impact rescue boat arrived around 5:35pm and conducted a search within the waters outside of the infinity pool, while DFEMS Search and Rescue Unit (SARU) teams conducted a cliff-line search for the individual.

The caller had told police that they had last seen Honorio Ricky Encabo, while he was standing on the rocks, before he slipped and fell into the water.

Encabo struggled to get back up as a strong current swept him underwater.

At about 7:05 p.m. Sunday night, search teams were called off because of low-light and resumed the search Monday morning, with the support of HSC-25.

DPS confirmed to PNC News that the search started back up around 7am Monday from air, water and the cliff-line.

A spokesperson from DPS said it’s still an active search for the swimmer. Divers will not be called out until this afternoon when all search efforts have been exhausted.

PNC News will have the latest as this story develops.