BY ALEX P. VIDAL
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — A group of Japanese tourists recently visited the place here where their compatriot had been swept over and presumed to have drowned last August 15 this year to offer flowers.
The group, composed mostly of students from Japan and led by Akira Kawabata, 28, lamented that four months since 20-year-old victim Ayano Tokumasu was swept over the falls while holding an umbrella, her body was not yet recovered until today.
The young Japanese woman, who disappeared after she lost her balance and fell, studied English at the Hansa Language Centre in Toronto.
Niagara Falls police confirmed surveillance footage from the visitors centre showed a young woman believed to be Tokumasu holding an umbrella, straddling a safety railing and looking at the falls.
“But when she got up to climb back over the railing, she lost her balance and slipped into the rushing waters near the brink of Horseshoe Falls,” CBCnews Toronto had reported.
Police searched the waters below the falls on for several days but were unable to find the woman, report added.
Some of her friend and family members in Japan, which was immediately notified of the accident, had also visited the place.
The Associated Press reported that according to Niagara Parks Police in Ontario, “two female students in their 20s from the Toronto area were visiting the falls around Sunday night when one of them climbed onto a railing near the river’s edge and sat on a block pillar, with her legs straddling the railing.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, she was enjoying the view from Table Rock when she was swept over Horseshoe Falls.
Police report said the woman stood up, lost her footing, and fell from the railing, which was located along the Canadian side of the Niagara River. The river is estimated to be 80 feet upstream from the edge of the falls.
The Montreal Gazette reported that “the strong current is what carried the woman to the falls.” After Niagara Parks police examined surveillance video, they claim “it appears that no one else was involved in this tragic accident.”