A South Korean English-language student apparently drowned off Front Beach in Rockport Sunday afternoon, the Essex district attorney’s office said Monday.
Si Jae Kim, 22, who attended the English Language Center in Boston, was among seven students from the center spending the day at the beach, according to a statement from District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office.
He had told a fellow student that he could not swim well, the statement said, but he entered the water after 4:15 p.m to catch up to two classmates who were swimming out to a platform. The two swimmers said they never saw Kim.
The statement said he had “apparently drowned.”
“There were no visible marks on Mr. Kim’s body or any indication of foul play,” the statement said.
‘A few minutes later, the harbormaster pulled the poor soul into the boat. Everyone was sitting around the beach, and no one could believe it.’
As students were preparing to leave Rockport, they noticed that Kim’s belonging were still on the beach and that he was missing. They realized that the last time Kim had been seen, he was swimming 15 yards offshore, the statement said.
Two of the students ran to the Captain’s Bounty Motor Inn and notified owner Tim Demakis, who called police.
“Last time they saw him, he had gone into the water, and they were concerned because they didn’t see him come out,” Demakis said in a phone interview Monday.
Sergeant Robert Tibert and Officer Michael Soares of the Rockport police responded to the scene after receiving the phone call around 6:18 p.m.
Spotting an outside staircase at a nearby house, Soares climbed to the third floor and used binoculars to locate Kim’s body.
He then guided the harbormaster via a radio to the spot where the body was recovered, the statement said. Reached by phone Monday night, Soares said he could not comment.
Demakis and his wife also used binoculars to spot Kim from upstairs at the inn.
“We saw something we didn’t want to see,” he said. “A few minutes later, the harbormaster pulled the poor soul into the boat. Everyone was sitting around the beach, and no one could believe it.”
State Police and Rockport police are investigating. A woman from the The English Language Center’s answering service said no one would comment on the death.
Sarah N. Mattero contributed to this report. Melanie Dostis can be reached at melanie.