Coast Guard official: Always stay safe in and around water

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“SAFETY is one of the Coast Guard’s top priorities and we recommend people to always stay aware of their surroundings while in or near the water — ensure they are sober, and to always be cautious,” Lt. Eugene Chung said.

He is the supervisor of the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment on Saipan.

He issued the statement following an incident at the Infinity Pool in As Teo involving Honorio “Norvin” Ricky Encabo who went missing on July 5, 2020. Except for his swim wear, his body was not recovered after a four-day search conducted by the Department of Public Safety.

Chung said the ocean can be unpredictable and even the most advanced swimmers can find themselves in danger.

“It is best practice to never go alone and to notify someone of your plans. Tell them where you are going, when you will be back, and have them check in on you once you are supposed to have returned,”  Chung said.

“If you do find yourself in trouble, get out of the water as quickly as possible if you are able and await emergency services,” he added.

Encabo’s brother, for his part, expressed his disappointment with how DPS responded to the initial call.

“We are upset with how slow they [DPS] work, and how they took their sweet time,” Frederick Ricky Encabo said. “They are very unprofessional.”

The official search was extended to July 9 upon the request of Encabo’s family members.

A relative of Honorio Encabo posted this message on Facebook:

“I want to personally express my gratitude to everyone for the shared condolences, words of comfort and encouragement, pictures and news sharing, your positive thoughts, prayers and time during this difficult moment.

“I found solace in knowing that our brother and my family [were] on your mind and I pray that a lesson can be learned from this incident to prevent another loss of life,” it added.

Born on Saipan, Honorio Ricky Encabo was a student at Northern Marianas College and was employed by Saipan World Resort.  His mother is from Pohnpei while his father is from the Philippines.

A witness told Variety that Honorio Encabo was standing on the edge of a rock at the Infinity Pool area when he slipped and fell into the waters.

Two other individuals who were with Encabo encouraged him to stay where he was, but he tried to return back to the ledge from where he fell the first time. A strong current then swept him underwater, a witness said.

DPS stated that the call regarding a distressed swimmer was reported on Sunday, July 5, 2020, around 4:57 p.m.

The search teams included DPS, the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services-Search and Rescue Unit, the U.S. Coast Guard, which deployed two choppers out of Guam, and the Division of Fish & Wildlife, which launched its boat to assist in the search for Encabo.

Also joining the search were the U.S. Coast Guard vessel, Sequoia, Coastal Resources Management, the Commonwealth Ports Authority, and a personal vessel owned by a local fisherman.

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