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Two U.S. Navy Sailors drown near Oak Harbor

Coast Guard Jayhawk, recovery effort for Whidbey NAS sailors
Coast Guard Jayhawk, recovery effort for Whidbey NAS sailors
Military released photo

A Saturday night fishing trip in kayaks resulted in the drowning deaths of two young Whidbey Naval Air Station sailors.

Vinson Cagzoo Ya, 25, and his Navy buddy Joseph Tindol Lee, 21, died while fishing for halibut in the 50-degree waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca in Washington State. Their bodies were recovered Sunday morning, May 31.

Ya was from Sacramento, Calif., and Lee’s hometown was Kingsville, Texas.

Initial reports list the drownings as “mysterious” but fishing for halibut in the unforgiving waters off the coast of Whidbey Island, especially in small individual kayaks after dark, is a treacherous journey.

The Navy released information indicating both sailors were aviation machinists with Electronic Attack Squadron 129.

The Naval Air Station has two sections on Whidbey Island; one near the city of Oak Harbor and the other in the unincorporated area of Island County.

Whidbey Naval Air Station will have a memorial Friday afternoon, June 6, to remember the young sailors who made a fatal misjudgment regarding the power of Mother Nature.

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