Jamestown, RI – A woman and a man from Quincy, Massachusetts died shortly after 9:30 am on Sunday after being pulled from the water off of Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown, according to Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM).
DEM identified the couple on Monday as Kongjuan Wei, 51, and Xianzan Tan, 52.
According to the DEM, environmental police officers were called to the park around 9:30 am on Sunday and were told by a friend of the couple that they two were fishing from the rocks along the shore when a large wave knocked Wei into the water. Tan jumped in to try and rescue his wife but soon found himself in distress as well, DEM said.
The US Coast Guard, Jamestown Fire Department, and other agencies responded to the 911 call. A US Coast Guard response crew recovered both from the water. Both were later pronounced dead at Newport Hospital. The initial 911 call came into DLE at 9:33 AM.
Environmental Police are estimating that waves in the range of six to eight feet high, generated by yesterday’s Nor’easter, are breaking onto the ocean-facing coast of Jamestown. DEM urges anglers and “storm watchers” not to put themselves and first responders in danger by standing too close to the surf on rocks along the shoreline in fishing areas, break walls, and breachways. DEM urges the public to stay safe by remaining far away from areas where waves might splash over. Individual waves may be more than twice the average wave height. Waves possess enormous force and can easily sweep a person into the water from what may seem to be a safe fishing or viewing area.