Family mourns loss of young bodysurfer at Sandy Beach

Family photo of Josiah Ramos
Family photo of Josiah Ramos

A family is mourning the loss of a young man who drowned at Sandy Beach Sunday afternoon.

Josiah Ramos, 19, was bodysurfing with his friends. They told police they last saw him at around 2:30 p.m., and thought he might have wandered off.

Then, at around 5:30 p.m., a diver found him unresponsive underwater. It was around the same spot he was last seen three hours earlier.

He was brought ashore, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. Autopsy results confirm that he drowned.

Frannie Ramos received the phone call no parent should ever get, from a police officer who told her something happened to her son.

“So I headed there. My daughter and his dad got there first, and then I got a text that told me Josiah was gone. He was gone,” Frannie Ramos said, before breaking down.

Family and friends are still reeling from the shock of a life cut too short. They describe him as an experienced swimmer who was aware of the dangers of the area.

“He loved the water. All of them know that he loved the water. He loved to fish. He loved to bodysurf, bodyboard,” said Frannie Ramos. “He was careful. He was always careful. He would always tell whoever was there and his brothers and stuff to be careful.”

Family and friends wonder why Josiah Ramos had to go now, when everything was falling into place for him.

He graduated from Aiea High School last year, recently got promoted to head chef at Palazzo Italian restaurant in Aiea, and had just started going to culinary school at Kapiolani Community College.

“Oh, that smile. Once he gave you that smile, he got you,” Frannie Ramos said.

His parents are hoping they can help prevent other tragedies. Their message: Watch out for each other.

“You guys go to the beach or wherever you guys go, you guys got to take care of each other,” said Ramos’ stepfather, Brian Hashiguchi. “If your friend’s gone, you guys gotta go look for them. That’s your family, man. Maybe something could’ve been avoided. You don’t want your parents to go through this kind stuff. It’s crazy.”

“Sandy Beach, just, it just takes anybody. You can be a professional diver or a professional bodysurfer, it’ll just take you when it wants,” Frannie Ramos said. “I don’t know how to be safe over there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or not. If you have all the equipment you’re supposed to have, just, it’ll take you.”

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