The Marine Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service conducted what is being hailed as a superb rescue operation on Monday after a boat carrying four souls sank in South Sound.
The craft can still be seen from the shoreline off the dock at the popular launch ramp facility and though it does not mirror the magnitude of a potentially tragic boating disaster, Senior PC in the Marine Unit Hugh Bush said, ‘In two to three minutes the effort may well have been a recovery and not a rescue.’
Mr. Bush said at roughly 1:15pm, while responding to a Jet Ski accident at the Westin, where a son and father collided, he received a call from the 911 dispatch saying that a vessel was in distress just outside the reef.
He said he immediately left the situation at the Westin, knowing that the situation there was under control and sped off to the fire station to retrieve the Tornado; one of the newest additions to the RCIP arsenal.
The team of three, which included PC Leo Anglin, Custom Officer in the Marine Unit Mark Miller and Mr. Bush, then launched their vessel at the location and picked up two of the distressed individuals on the first pass.
‘They were pretty beat up and had ingested a lot of water in addition to being quite cut up from the reef,’ explained Mr. Bush.
He said another person was then retrieved from the swell on the second try.
Once those on-board had regained their composure, they told the officers there was a fourth person in the water, after which time the team patrolled the reef line and found the last person quite a few feet away from the initial incident.
Mr. Bush said he was honoured to be a part of the rescue and commented on the other members’ bravery and willingness.
‘We got the call at 1.15pm and by 1.35pm we had four people safely on-board and on their way to the hospital.’
He said he wished to thank his comrades, who are among the youngest members of the Marine Unit and added that the people involved are alive today because of these young men.
The boat has since been towed from the reef to the shore by the Harbour House Marina team and though the engine is still on the craft; diesel leaking should be minimal as the boat’s engine is quite small.
However, according to Deputy Director-Operations and Enforcement at the DOE Scott Slaybough, recovery of the boat and leakage prevention is the individual’s responsibility.
‘If help is needed the government would step in on a cost recovery basis,’ said Mr. Slaybough.
This would mean that there would be some cost incurred by the owner of the vessel.
The Vessel that sank carrying four people who were subsequently rescued by police has since been towed away. Photo: Stuart Wilson
‘They were pretty beat up and had ingested a lot of water in addition to being quite cut up from the reef.’ Senior PC Hugh Bush