Update: Canoe found, boaters still missing

Rescuers have found a watercraft fitting the description of a canoe carrying five people who have been missing at sea since Sunday night.

Families of missing boaters

Families of the missing boaters meet with search crews at Newlands dock Monday. Photo: Brent Fuller

The boat was found on a reef in the North Sound. Police marine unit vessels, other boats and a helicopter continued to search the area where the canoe was recovered throughout the afternoon, but by 3.30pm the five boaters were still missing.

The five, which included two teenagers, were aboard a 26-foot canoe that had not returned from a Sunday fishing trip.

Police began searching for the craft Sunday night, shortly after being contacted by family members and friends of the missing boaters.

Those on board were Raynel Wood, 36, his 13-year-old daughter Michelle, Josh Gilman, 28, Astor Range, 36, and Jeamie Avila, 19.

“I know pretty much everybody who’s on the boat,” Susanne Bodden, a family friend said Monday. “They were planning to circle around the whole island (referring to Grand Cayman) and be back by 7pm (Sunday).”

According to police, the white and blue coloured canoe left from the Newlands dock just off Leeward Drive in the Rackley’s area around 7am Sunday. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service received a missing persons report at around 10.15pm Sunday.

Police boat and helicopter searches began late Sunday and continued all day Monday.

By mid-morning Monday dozens of relatives and friends had gathered in the parking lot of the Newlands dock area. Police boats were out searching the North Sound, which is where the Newlands dock juts into along the southern coast of the sound.

Please check back to www.caycompass.com for new updates on this story, and be sure to read more in Tuesday’s Caymanian Compass.