Police work to identify body washed ashore on Okinawa after typhoon
July 19, 2007
YOMITAN, Okinawa — Okinawa police remain baffled over the identity of an Asian man whose body was washed on the shore at Torii Station here during Typhoon Man-yi.
“We believe that the cause of the death was drowning,” an Okinawa Prefectural Police spokesman said at the Kadena town police station Tuesday.
He said police are investigating the case both as a possible accident and a possible suicide.
“Either he fell into the sea after he was hit by a strong gust of wind or he threw himself into the ocean,” the spokesman said, adding that police believe he was an Okinawan.
The body was discovered about 9 a.m. Saturday as cleanup crews worked to remove debris left by the typhoon, which struck the island Thursday and Friday with winds gusting up to 110 mph. He was naked, wearing only a wristwatch with a black leather band, the police spokesman said.
“Probably, the clothes were removed by the pounding of the waves,” he said.
“He is believed to be between 35 and 45 years of age. Considering his clean haircut, we do not believe he was a homeless.”
He said the man was about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed approximately 176 pounds. He had cuts near his left eye police suspect were caused by hitting rocks.
Okinawa has been battered by thunderstorms and heavy rain in the days following the typhoon and police have not been able to adequately scour the area for clues, he said.
“After the weather is recovered, we will contact the Army and make an arrangement to have police investigators visit the beach to gather more information,” the police spokesman said.
Investigators are further stymied by the lack of a missing person report, he added.
“However, looking at the condition of the body, we do not believe he had been in the water a very long time,” the police spokesman said.