4 Net Fishermen Swept Off Ipan Reef; 2 Safe; Search On for 2 Others

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Guam – A search continues off  Ipan Talafofo today [Sunday] for 2 missing net fishermen  who were swept off the reef just north of First Beach last night about 9 pm.

They were among 4 men who went out on the reef with a gill net last night to catch some fish.

At the scene Sunday morning, Guam Fire Battalion Chief Mike Aguon told PNC News that the 4 fishermen “were stretching a net over the channel.”

“They were swept of the reef,” said Chief Aguon.

They were not wearing any scuba gear, fins, masks or flotation devices, he said.

Guam Fire and Rescue was contacted about 10:30 Saturday night. The U.S. Coast Guard, Guam Police and a Navy HSC-25 helicopter joined GFD in the search Saturday night and their efforts continued all night.

Sunday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Washington could be seen conducting a pattern search off-shore, 3 smaller vessels were motoring closer in-shore,  while a Navy HSC-25 rescue helicopter flew overhead.

GFD Public Information Officer Joey San Nicolas said one of  the fishermen made it back on his own last night. And a second man managed to make it back on shore after an hour, with some assistance from rescue personnel.

Two others, a 25 and 27 year old, are still in the water.

GFD’s San Nicolas identified the 2 men who made it back safely as 18 year old  Felix Torres, who struggled in the water for an hour before making it back alive. The second man who made it to safety was Steven Torres, 20. He was able to get back on land shortly after the rough surf knocked them down.

The identities of the 2 men still missing have not been officially released.

Talafofo Mayor Vicente Taitague said all the fisherman were from Talafofo.  3 of them are related.

“I hope and pray that we can recovery the bodies today,” said Mayor Taitague, “so that we can close this incident out.”

GFD Spokesman Joey San Nicolas said they are still conducting a Search and Rescue operation.