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Woman drives car off Banzai Cliff

A 23-year-old woman backed up the 2017 Toyota Yaris she had rented before accelerating over the edge of Banzai Cliff on Saturday morning, according to a couple who witnessed the incident.

The couple said when they arrived in the area at around 8:30 a.m. to fish, they saw the woman there.

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They said a security guard told them that he earlier saw the woman seated on the edge of the cliff. He said he told her she could not sit there.

After preparing their fishing gear, the couple said they heard the sound of a car door slamming.

One of the witnesses said she saw the vehicle backing up as the driver opened a door and threw out a handbag. The driver then closed the door and accelerated toward the edge of the cliff, the witnesses said.

The couple said it was like watching a scene from a movie as the car flipped after hitting some rocks before plunging into the ocean, roof first. They said the vehicle sank immediately.

One of the witnesses said they called 911 but had difficulty getting a signal.

They said they also found a note written in English and Chinese, apparently from the driver. It stated, in English, that she had left the car unlocked and that the key was in the car. The note ended with, “Thank you so much.”

Variety learned that the driver rented the car from QQ Car Rental. The manager said the driver paid in cash and showed a Chinese ID. The manager said the driver was a tourist.

In a statement, the Department of Public Safety said it responded to the incident at Banzai Cliff at 9:31a.m., Saturday.

DPS said the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services also arrived at the scene.

Police recovered several documents and personal belongings left by the driver at the scene and secured them as evidence.

“DPS Boating Safety Section, Dive Rescue Team recovered the lifeless body of the female from the car in the ocean. The female was transported by the DPS rescue boat to Smiling Cove Marina and [then to the] Commonwealth Health Center where she was officially pronounced dead by Dr. Nicholas Villalon at 4:35 p.m.”

DPS said the female has been identified, but her name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The investigation is ongoing, DPS added.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/100574-woman-drives-car-off-banzai-cliff

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