Japanese visitor Hisayoshi Fukushima went snorkeling at Laura beach around 1pm Tuesday. The current was strong and it pulled him far out from shore. He said he didn’t realize how far away from shore he was because he was busy looking at the sandy floor.
Suddenly, water started getting into his snorkel and he looked up and saw he was far off from land. The area was deceptive. He thought it was shallow but too deep for him to stand up. He found a rock and tried to stand but wasn’t able to balance on it, he said.
He panicked, became unconscious and doesn’t remember anything else until he was in an ambulance.
Dr. Tadd Selby, who is visiting Majuro, and SDA volunteer and a nurse, Melissa Pujols, both gave Fukushima CPR and revived him.
After coming to, he noticed that he was being transported via ambulance.
He said he is embarrassed, yet grateful. “I feel sorry for my friends who must have been worried about me. And I’m thankful for the Marshallese people especially the hospital staff,” said Fukushima.
A doctor aboard the Peace Boat and Majuro hospital doctors recommended he stay to recover and then fly home.
This is his third trip on Peace Boat. Fukushima recommended local officials provide more tour guidelines so visitors are aware of the swimming situation and currents at Laura. He said he didn’t realize that Majuro’s lagoon gets deeper further out from shore. In Tahiti, he said, the lagoons are shallow for an extended distance.
Japan Embassy administrative staff Gaku Hashimoto assisted Fukushima with translation and services at the hospital.
Read more about this in the March 25, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.