Man dies in boating accident

A boating accident Tuesday night left one man dead with three others narrowly escaping the same fate.

The deceased was identified by police only as a 62-year-old Caymanian. His name was withheld pending notification of relatives.

The four men had left from the South Sound dock earlier that evening and made their way up to Bodden Town to do some fishing in the vicinity of Beach Bay.

The fishing trip turned sour when the 22-foot Wellcraft boat they were in sank sometime before 8.30pm the night before.

Emergency Communication Centre received a call that a boat had sank. A full scale multi-agency and private sector search and rescue operation was mounted involving the Royal Cayman Island Police, Drugs Task Force Marine Section, Department of Environment Marine Enforcement, Paramedics, Fire Control and the Port Authority, stated a release from the RCIPS.

Cayman Island Helicopters, a private business, was also called in to assist with the search.

With spotlights on each side of the harbour patrol boat, chief marine enforcement officer Ladner Watler said he swept the area during the night with the help of his son Joseph.

Mr. Watler said officers onboard the helicopter spotted floating debris, and when it was checked, the dead man was found clinging to a bucket. The cause of his death has yet to be determined.

Two men, aged 37 and 45, who swam ashore near Beach Bay were treated by paramedics.

Orders were given to search the area for the fourth man. Mr. Watler said a gas tank was located on the beach with footprints leading away from it.

That man was picked up on the Beach Bay Road about 7.30am Wednesday. The search was called off at 7.58am when all agencies involved were satisfied that the four males on board were accounted for.

Officers were told that the boat did not have a plug. It took on water and sank.

The craft was subsequently located submerged in approximately 50 feet of water later that morning by police and DoE.

The matter is under investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department.

It is understood that the same boat was stopped earlier in the week and returned to shore for not having proper safety equipment on board.

Mr. Watler said he wanted to highly stress to the public the importance of the Port Authority’s requirements for boating. Persons should have proper communications on board in case of an emergency, life vests, flares, water-tight containers and even cell phones. Mr. Watler said if he found anyone leaving the harbour without the proper equipment they would be sent back.

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