Two 8-year-old boys drown after falling into lake at Gifu golf course


Two eight-year-old boys drowned after they fell into a small lake at a golf course in Kani, Gifu Prefecture.

According to police, the incident occurred at around 5 p.m. Monday. NTV reported Wednesday that the boys had been playing near the man-made lake at Nagoya Hills Golf Club.

According to the police and fire department, the two boys were playing with another boy, throwing stones into the lake. The lake is about 160 meters in length and 45 meters in width. The deepest area of the lake is about 5 meters.

The boys who died were identified as Ryuto Yonezawa and Riku Okazaki, both of whom were 2nd graders at Joto Elementary School in Inuyama, Aichi. Police said one of the boys fell into the lake and his friend dived in to save him but both got into difficulties. The third boy ran home to get his mother, who in turn contacted Yonezawa's mother.

By the time the fire department responded to the accident, the two women had pulled the boys out of the lake but they were unconscious. They were taken to hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Police said nobody should have been out on the golf course at that time of the afternoon and said the boys entered the golf course through a hole in the fence.

© Japan Yoday

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That's just sad.

Pre-emptive strike: 8 year old boys don't need to be watched every second. They can go out and play on their own. None of this was a parenting fail. Just a sad accident.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

True, JohnBecker. Sad, but true. Knowing golf courses, and I do, having used them since I was nine, as a golfer, I can see such a tragedy happening at this time of year, anywhere. Just wish I couldn't imagine it.

To mothers Yonezawa and Okazaki, gomen nasai.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Certainly not a parenting fail. No one knew how to swim? Did they break through a scrim of ice and get trapped? Did neither mother know CPR (though too much time may have passed)? "Both got into difficulties," sayeth the Aichi Police. What kind of difficulties? Kappa?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Sad indeed. My deepest condolence to the families.

@Jeff Huffman, there are a lot of kids (and adults) who don't know how to swim. And even if they did know how, if panic interfered with their swimming abilities, they probably would have drowned regardless.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ms. AlexanderFEB. 19, 2015 - 09:02AM JST @Jeff Huffman, there are a lot of kids (and adults) who don't know how to swim.

Yes. That could be the case, though less likely in Japan than with kids from an inner city neighborhood in the U.S. My gripe is that nothing regarding this appeared in the article. Either this is crap transcribing by JT or typically bad Japanese reporting where the basics of journalism - who, what, where, when, how and why - aren't taught.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

They need to look at the design of the man-made lake. Are the banks too steep to crawl out? That could've been the problem. A water hazard on a golf course should just be deep enough for the ball to fall in for a score penalty, not a fatality.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

i wonder if the boy who jumped in to save his friend knew how to swim or not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where was the security gaurd? Everywhere i go i always see staff or a gaurd man somewhere.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Tragic situation. That second boy is a REAL hero for going in to try and save his friend. His parents are mourning him as well as his friend but they should also be tremendously proud of the kind of child he was. His sacrifice was ultimate act of love for someone. RIP, young boys.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Golfers and their damned lakes :( Why does it need to be 5 meters deep, and why was it so steep and impossible to escape from? It sounds like a death trap to me...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Very sad indeed. I am a firm believer in swim lessons at a young age, maybe an accident does not evolve to a tragedy. Accidents happen all the time, watching children is not realistic, arm them with skills.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Very, very sad RIP.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

rickyvee: i wonder if the boy who jumped in to save his friend knew how to swim or not.

It's not enough knowing how to swim, you have to know how to swim for rescue, and avoid the other party pulling you under, or yourself running out of energy. Last resort is going out yourself, and I wouldn't expect an 8-year-old to have much training at all. Kids should be taught to just stay away from water if no adult supervision present.

A bare summary is shown at the wikipedia link, all kinds of details missing there. A lot more info at

... A rescuer should enter the water only as a last resort.

Rescues should be attempted in the following order: talk, throw, reach, wade, row, swim, tow and carry.

Japanese police statistics show that 86% of people who drown are fully clothed. They were simply unprepared.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Pre-emptive strike: 8 year old boys don't need to be watched every second. They can go out and play on their own. None of this was a parenting fail. Just a sad accident.

They still had no business being on private fenced off property, and near water. Better education could have prevented this from happening, and the parents are always responsible for their children's actions

yes, very sad indeed

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

People, please stop making this about just knowing how to swim. There are other variables at play here. Ever think of what the water temperature is in a lake in Gifu in the middle of February? Maybe someone used to those conditions, or, say Michael Phelps would be OK, but most adults and probably all six-year-old kids would be stricken with hypothermia and probably start to panic within seconds. RIP, kids.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

RIP boys.

Armchair detectives, let's not forget water temperature as another impediment to staying afloat, swimming ability or not. By the time help arrived, these boys would be have been immersed for quite a while. If closed, getting to the scene would probably mean running there (possibly cycling or driving to the course itself). All of this after the other boy who ran for help arrived.

Also, I'm going to assume something not mentioned prevented them from climbing out. (A wall or steep dirt bank, etc). Article says "fell in". The surrounding area appears "hilly". Satellite photos show dams, "lakes" would be artificial. Draw your own conclusions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yep, that water would've been cold enough to take the fight out of probably even the most proficient of swimmers. Terrible.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The boys also would have been wearing winter clothes... have ever tried swimming in your clothes? Poor boys. RIP

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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