A beach trip came to a tragic end when five people drowned after huge waves swept them out to sea last Sunday afternoon. 38 year old Yuichi Hirata, along with his 6 year old daughter and two young nephews, were having a family day at a beach in Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture when the accident happened. 27 year old Mitsuru Nagayama, who tried to help the children, also got swept away and perished in the process.
The Hirata family, who came from Nagano, was visiting the area to celebrate the Golden Week holidays with family. While a warning for high tides was announced on Saturday, the meteorological agency canceled it by early Sunday morning. The children were playing on the beach, chasing waves, when a sudden huge tide came and swept them out to sea. The father came to their rescue, along with Nagayama, who was fishing in the area, but both were also swept away. Police were alerted of the incident and arrived to retrieve the bodies to be taken to the hospital where all five were pronounced dead.
The local government had warned visitors against swimming near that area on the Sea of Japan coast because of huge waves that can come unexpected. Early morning that day, the area was a calm beach suitable for wading in, but the waves grew stronger in the afternoon with strong winds coming. Even the water near the shoreline reached 2-3 meters deep, which the family was not able to prepare for.