Guam – An 18 hour search conducted by The Guam Fire Department, Guam Police Department, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard to find two missing paddlers who were reported missing since yesterday has come to an end.
Guam Fire Department Spokeman Joey San Nicholas says.”Fortunately it was successful that we found the paddler, although it was bitter sweet.”
The search and rescue mission conducted by The Guam Fire Department, Guam Police Department, U.S. Navy and Coast Guard for the two paddlers who was reported missing off Matapang Beach last night is now over. The body of the 18 year old was found shortly after 11am this morning. Family members, friends and team mates who gathered and prayed at Matapang Beach identified the young man as Ryan Cepeda. Although it was reported that Cepeda was part of a George Washington High School paddle team that capsized, Cepeda was actually a paddler on a club team that is associated with the Marianas Paddle Racing Association. Last night a team of 6 paddlers, made up of former George Washington High School students, went out into the water for a routine practice. But last night the swells were unusually high.
San Nicholas says There was an advisory, unfortunately the message didn’t reach them or they made a decision to go out anyway in those conditions.
But close to 5pm , the 6 man team of paddlers on an outrigger had capsized in the rough roaring surf. The strong waves swept three paddlers out over the reef into the open ocean. The three other team members swam back to shore. According to San Nicholas, a good Samaritan saw what had happened from the shore and got into his kayak.
San Nicholas he He was able to recover one of the paddlers, who was transported to the Guam Memorial Hospital and was released last night. But he was unable to get the other two. Which is when our search and rescue units arrived and they recovered one expired body last night and she was transported to the hospital and we continued to search throughout the rest of the night for the last paddler.
The 21 year old woman whose was recovered from the water and pronounced dead on arrival at GMH last night has been identified by family and friends as Kayleen Mendiola
Throughout the night and into the next day, love ones gathered in unity on Matapang beached where they hoped and prayed for Ryan’s safe return. Then just after 11 am one of the rescuer found a broken paddle. And then a Navy Helicopter found Cepeda’s body about 200 yards on the other side of the reef. Once word got back to back the to shore that they found Ryan, a wave of grief, shock and sadness spread throughout all the love one on the beach… The search is over and they found Ryan….
Ryan’s body returned to the Agana boat basin. Church bells can be heard in the distance while Ryan’s body was moved from the rescue boat to the ambulance. Ryan’s body was transported to GMH where his family members waited for his arrival.
A Memorial Service and Mass for Kayleen Mendiola will be held tonight at Yona Church. The Memorial Service began at 5pm and the Mass started at 7pm.