Fisherman drowns in East Passage

One man died after a 17-foot runabout boat holding three fishermen sank Nov. 5 in the East Passage about 500 feet from land.

Sang H. Oh, 62, of Flushing, N.Y., was pronounced dead after his body was found washed up on shore in Jamestown on Saturday near Coulter Street. A report from the state Department of Environmental Management said that the victim was seen floating facedown 2 feet from shore. Oh was pulled to shore, turned over and checked for vitals, and no pulse was found.

According to Jamestown Fire Chief Jim Bryer, Oh’s eyes were fixed and dilated, and water was streaming from his nose and mouth. Jamestown police notified a medical examiner.

Oh was in the boat with Yoon Park, 52, and Taeksoon Jang, 42, both of New Jersey. The three men left around 8 a.m. Saturday morning from Fort Adams boat ramp in Newport and headed to the location about 100 meters from the Jamestown shoreline to fish. According to the DEM report, the fishermen anchored and began to fish, but the stern began taking on water less than an hour after boarding. After Park tried to loosen the anchor line, water rushed into the boat causing it to sink.

With the boat sinking, Taeksoon and Oh began to swim toward land, while Park stayed with the sinking craft.

Taeksoon reached land around 9:30 a.m. and went to a residence on Decatur Avenue. According to police, a call was received by the JPD dispatcher at 9:37 a.m. that “an Asian male was completely soaked and had knocked on a window” for help. The swim took Taeksoon “20 to 30 minutes,” but Oh had drowned before reaching land.

Park, who stayed with the submerged vessel, was rescued by a Jamestown marine rescue boat at 9:48 a.m. According to the fire department, he was wearing a life vest.