Kazuki Takahashi Dead after supposedly trying to save others from drowning
New information on the death of Kazuki Takahashi, 60, appears to provide some answers.
U.S. Army Maj. Robert Bourgeau was nominated by his command last month for the Soldier’s Medal, which is awarded for courage in situations other than combat, and the story about him was published in Stars & Stripes on Tuesday. On July 4th, Bourgeau was visiting Mermaid’s Grotto in Onno when he heard a mother yell for help. Her daughter, aged 11, and a U.S. soldier were entangled in a riptide about a hundred yards from shore.
Bourgeau, a certified scuba diver and diving instructor, dove into the sea to try to save the girl. He found her mother while working to get her back to the shallows, and he saved her as well. According to many sworn witness accounts submitted by the Army, as Bourgeau was attempting to save these two women, he was unaware that Takahashi had also leapt in and tried to help.
After bringing the women to safety, Bourgeau attempted to return to the whirlpool and rescue the soldier, but he became weary and had to turn back. In order to save himself, he had to expend all of his remaining strength. In his testimony, he said, “That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, I let [the man] go so I could save myself.”
The soldier was saved by Bourgeau, who led him away from the vortex and back to land.
Two days later, a body was found floating off the shore of Nago; it was identified as that of Kazuki Takahashi.
For Bourgeau, Takahashi is a hero. “He died trying to save someone else.”