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3 children, 2 adults drown at Niigata beach


Three children and two adults drowned after they were swept away by strong waves Sunday at a beach in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture.

According to police and rescue personnel, the three children -- two boys aged 6 and 9, and a girl aged 6 -- were swept away by waves at around 1:40 p.m. at the beach in Kakizaki Ward. The 38-year-old father of the girl and a 27-year-old fisherman jumped in to try and save the children but they, too, went under, witnesses told NTV.

A short time later, all five bodies were retrieved from the sea and they were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead, police said.

Police identified the five as Yuichi Hirata, 38, his daughter Kureha, 6, Hirata's nephew Riku, 9, Riku's brother Ren, 6, and a fisherman friend of the family, Mitsuru Nagayama, 27.

Police said the Hiratas had come from Ueda City in Nagano Prefecture to Joetsu to spend the Golden Week holidays with their relatives. Nagayama was also from Ueda.

Locals told media that the weather changed suddenly on Sunday afternoon and that winds made the sea quite choppy with waves up to two meters high. The sea was about 2-3 meters deep near the shoreline, they said.

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1 ( +2 / -1 )

So sad!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad, RIP.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've said this before, but there is a reason why these chain-reaction mass drownings occur. It's because it's nearly impossible for a non-expert to save someone in deep water without a floating device or rope.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Rip current.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There is no greater expression of love than to lay down your life when needed. What a good father. May God comfort the family members of all four.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Looking at the pictures of the scram on TV last night the surf didn't seem too big or dangerouse that would has stopper me going in, how deceptive the sea can be with undertows. I would have jumped in also. Sad situation for those left my condolences.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If it looks unfriendly, keep your distance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A father will go after his child if he feels a chance is possible. So sad it didn't work out. Three families directly devastated!

As the "chain reaction" mentioned above. I would not hesitate to go after a child w/o a flotation device in rough surf.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So terrible and so sad! The ocean the waves, never turn your back on them and suddenly waves of 2 or 3 meters?? Even an adult will we swept away let alone children as young as 6 years old. RIP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's so sad. May they rest in peace.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I cannot express enough sympathy for this family. I truly hope that this family can find some piece in time. I do understand that this kind of tragedy is totally overwhelming. Prayers go out to them.... To all 5 victims RIP....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I would not hesitate to go after a child w/o a flotation device in rough surf."

Then I suggest you take a look at this:


3 ( +3 / -0 )

Incredibly tragic. My heartfelt condolences go out to the families.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As I say, I would not hesitate. For one, I am a strong swimmer. For two, I have taken water rescue training in the past. Third point I am a parent of a 6 yo and would risk my life to quite an extent for her.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

For one, I am a strong swimmer. For two, I have taken water rescue training in the past. Third point I am a parent of a 6 yo and would risk my life to quite an extent for her.

Not to say I'm doubting you, but the point is that going in the water in a situation like this without careful thinking and planning will accomplish nothing but change the newspaper headlines from "Child Drowned" to "Child and Parent Drowned."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Horrible stuff. RIP to those lost, and good on the father and the fisher for jumping in to try and save the kids, although they lost their lives doing it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry...all five.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't these beaches have any competent Surf Lifesaving teams on watch?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You never see a life guard wearing a life jacket because you often need to dive below the surface of the water. Wearing these devices often hinder rescue effort.....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

May they rest in piece and the gates to heaven to open to them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This secondary disaster is heartrending.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would probably go in to try and save the child, even if there was a high chance of dying myself. At what odds do you decide to stay put?

Not sure if I could face myself or my wife if I did not go in.

The lesson is to stay away from the waterfront in bad weather.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Look, I hate to say it, but this is about proper and adequate supervision, which doesn't look like it took place. This is Dad's responsibility, and he failed.

If you are at a beach where there are waves and rips, you simply don't let kids go in - or if you do (and you'd be pushing it), definitely not unsupervised. If you yourself do not know the beach very well, and don't have the capacity to rescue them yourself if something goes wrong, then no way. Two 6 year olds and a 9 year old?! It's absolute madness imo. Same goes for letting them stand close enough to be swept away.

I've seen Japanese parents and their kids at the beach - I've taken my wife's nephews to the beach several times, and saved both kids once when their lack of knowledge and experience at the beach - as well as their father's, meant they stepped off a reef into deep water and went straight under because they weren't competent enough swimmers and didn't understand the dangers. Their father wasn't watching them at the time and I have no doubt they would have both silently drowned (non-swimmers don't thrash about people, they just sink silently beneath the surface) had I not been watching them very carefully.

And even a very strong swimmer and experienced lifeguard would struggle to rescue 3 small non-swimming kids in surf.

This, unfortunately, is Dad's fault.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This, unfortunately, is Dad's fault.

Internet rule #302: Everything is always someone's fault. Everything.

1 ( +2 / -2 )

A steeply shelving shingle beach that instantly drops to 2-3m with treacherous backwash undertows?. Nasty places. The gravel beaches of Southern Canterbury coast of NZ are just like this. You cant swim in them ever. You can't surf them either as the waves break right on the beach

Don't these beaches have any competent Surf Lifesaving teams on watch

as above, this is fishing beach - no one would ever go swimming at a beach like this.


the surf was plenty big enough yesterday to create some strong undertows and make it bloody hard to get back to shore

A real tragedy for this family, the kids would have been having fun dodging the surf as kids do when one big wave caught them. terrible news.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rest in Peace to all. Terrible tragedy. It looked like an extremely dangerous drop-off at that beach. As an experienced ocean-swimmer, I have swum in many like it and I can manage the danger - but as a dad, I wouldn't let my kid anywhere near that water.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Definitely a Rip Current, I went to the beach here in Los Angeles this weekend with my son and the current were pretty strong you could feel the under tow pulling you out, I realized this and told my son we were finish! The life guard came out and put up a flag, we got out of the water and just relaxed!!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

whoah, couldve done the same for those children. Just when we need more children here, this happens... I could cry for these poor children! どうして!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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