8 Sep 2009

Japanese surfer feared dead in Northern Marianas

12:39 pm on 8 September 2009

A Japanese surfer is feared dead after a search around Sugar Dock in Chalan Kanoa in the Northern Marianas failed to locate him.

The Department of Public Safety says the search for Hirofumi Matusumoto will continue until further notice.

The department has closed the beach surrounding Sugar Dock for the rescue operations and because of the hazardous surf.

Police say the 31 year-old was surfing with a friend on Sunday afternoon when a strong current pulled the two outside the reef.

After 30 minutes Mr Matusumuto's friend was able to paddle back to shore and alerted police.

Searches by the police and a US coast guard helicopter failed to find him.

Sugar Dock is a popular area for surfers.