PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is identifying the couple who were pulled from rough surf off Fort Wetherill State Park in Jamestown yesterday. They are Kongjuan Wei, 51, and Xianzan Tan, 52, of 5 Calumet Street, Quincy, MA.
After responding to the 911 call, which came into DEM at 9:33 AM, Environmental Police Officer (EPO) Harold Guise stated that he was approached by Yongjian Chen, 20, who said he had come to Jamestown with the couple to go fishing. Chen, who called 911, said other fishermen on the shore told him they saw a large wave knock Wei down onto the rocks and drag her into the water. Chen said the witnesses told him Tan, who was fishing near his wife, jumped into the water to try to rescue her. Chen arrived to see Tan struggling to swim and Wei slightly farther out in the water. Chen said he saw Tan swimming for about five minutes before appearing to lose consciousness. Soon after, both Chen and the initial witnesses lost sight of both victims.
The US Coast Guard retrieved the victims from the water and brought them to shore where Jamestown Fire and EMS responders tried to resuscitate them. Jamestown Fire and EMS transported Wei and Tan to Newport Hospital where they were later pronounced dead.
Environmental Police estimate that yesterday's surf was approximately six to eight feet, the remnants of the Nor'easter that came ashore on Saturday.
DEM extends its sympathies to the couple's family and friends.