ROCKPORT — A South Korean student, visiting Cape Ann Sunday with a handful of friends from his Boston school, drowned in the waters off Front Beach.
Si Jae Kim, 22, a student at the English Language Center in Boston who had been attending the school since March and living in an off-campus apartment, was scheduled to head back to South Korea in November, a spokeswoman for the school said Monday.
Kim had been studying in an intensive English learning program, in which students choose the length of their course of study, according to the spokeswoman.
The school has extended condolences to Kim’s family in South Korea, and has arranged for counselors to be available for meetings and discussions with students, according to the spokeswoman. She said the six fellow students who were visiting Rockport with Kim on Sunday have already met with school administrators and counselors.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to support the student population and the parents,” the spokeswoman said.
Kim and the other students had been visiting Rockport on a day trip Sunday, according to Steve O’Connell, spokesman for the Essex County District Attorney.
Kim had gone into the water off Front Beach about 4:15 p.m. to swim out to a floating dock where two other students were swimming, according to O’Connell. The two students on the dock reported that they never saw Kim swimming, O’Connell said. Lifeguard shifts in Rockport end at 4 p.m., Rockport police said today; the initial report that the shifts went through 5 p.m. was incorrect, police said.
The rest of the student group reported that they thought Kim had gone elsewhere on land, until they noticed his belongings were still on the beach, according to O’Connell. Then two students ran to a nearby inn to report that Kim was missing, prompting a desk clerk to call Rockport Police about 6:18 p.m., O’Connell said. Upon receiving the call, Rockport police Sgt. Robert Tibert and Officer Michael Soares immediately called the town’s harbormasters and dispatched officers to the beach, O’Connell said. Soares climbed an outdoor staircase to the third floor of a nearby house, and using binoculars, was able to locate Kim’s body in the harbor about 10 feet offshore in 2-3 feet of water, O’Connell said.
Soares guided the harbormasters’ boat, driven by Harbormaster Rosemary Lesch, to the body, and Harbormaster Scott Story retrieved Kim’s body from the water, according to O’Connell.
“It was absolutely apparent when his body was recovered that there was no hope,” O’Connell said.
There was no indication of foul play, according to O’Connell, but the manner of Kim’s death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston.
Local officials also notified Kim’s family in South Korea of his death.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or firstname.lastname@example.org.