Inquests held in visitors’ deaths

Coroner’s Juries returned verdicts of death by natural causes in three cases involving visitors who had been swimming.

There were no signs of violence in any of the cases. Tests for drugs and alcohol proved negative for all three men.

On 14 July, Queen’s Coroner Margaret Ramsay-Hale conducted inquests concerning Gerald A. Muller, who died 8 April 2003; and Nobuo Mizoguchi, who died 10 September 2003. Both men came to Cayman as passengers on a cruise ship.

On 15 July, another jury heard details surrounding the death of Frederick Richard Lewis, a stay-over visitor from California who died the day after his arrival, 2 May 2004.

Mr. Muller, 60, went with his wife on a local vessel to Stingray City. After he swam to an area where he could stand up, he was breathing heavily and his wife got assistance from two crew members, who performed CPR.

After getting Mr. Muller back on board, the crew continued CPR as the vessel returned to shore. Mr. Muller was then transported by ambulance to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His wife gave a statement in which she said he was 100 pounds overweight.

Dr. John Morgan, the pathologist who conducted the post mortem, used the term gross obesity in describing Mr. Muller’s appearance. In his opinion, cause of death was ischaemic heart disease [the heart muscle not getting enough oxygen] and coronary artery atheroma [narrowing].

Mr. Muller was from Louisiana, USA.

Mr. Mizoguchi, who was from Japan, went on a dive boat to the Sand Bar in North Sound. While swimming, he developed breathing problems. A member of the party administered CPR and he was transported back to the boat and then to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Dr. Morgan conducted the post mortem examination the next day. His report described Mr. Mizoguchi as an elderly (71) male of average nutrition.

In his opinion, the cause of death was ischaemic heart disease and coronary artery atheroma.

Visiting pathologist Dr. Garfield Blake performed the post mortem examination in the case of Mr. Lewis, whose inquest was held 15 July. In Dr. Blake’s opinion, cause of death was congestive cardiac failure.

According to a statement from Mr. Lewis’s daughter, who was one of the party travelling with him, he was a strong and independent man. Before going swimming on the Sunday evening, he had taken two naps.

The daughter considered this normal for a man of 85 after travelling all day Saturday.

Mr. Lewis, a certified diver, went snorkelling off Seven Mile Beach with a friend. The friend subsequently swam to the reef and when he got there he saw Mr. Lewis swimming parallel to shore.

When he left the reef he saw Mr. Lewis on his back. He assumed the older man was tired and shouted to him, but got no response. He swam over, removed Mr. Lewis’ mask and gave him several short breaths of air.

He called to a friend on the beach for help and they carried Mr. Lewis to shore. An ambulance arrived soon after and took him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The police officer who conducted the investigation concluded there were no suspicious circumstances.

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