Tourist dies near Sand Bar

stingray city cayman
Police are investigating the death of a 71-year-old cruise ship passenger who died Tuesday afternoon near the Sand Bar.

Shortly before 2pm, police received a report that a man was found unconscious in the water near Coral Gardens, a popular snorkelling site close to the Sand Bar.
Police said he was found floating on the water by people on a boat, who lifted him aboard, but found him unresponsive to CPR.

The Joint Marine Unit’s Niven D attended the scene and transported the unconscious man to the Yacht Club where paramedics were standing by. He was then taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, but was found to be dead on arrival.

stingray city cayman h

Stingray City Sand bar attracts thousands of tourists to Grand Cayman every year.


  1. What ever happened to the Buddy System? If this was a tourist, I am assuming he got to Coral Gardens using a tour boat operator. Assuming I am correct, that operator ought to have clients buddy up mandatorily. Even if the adult declined an in-water buddy, in writing, that does not provide excuse for this circumstance. That operator ought to have known the whereabouts of all clients at all times and that client’s body ought never have been found floating by another boat. Optimally, his snorkeling buddy ought to have called the observant tour operator for help! This is stuff of Beginner’s Red Cross Safety for boys and girls. Tourism Operators need to use more common sense and keep watchful eyes open at all times, caring and constantly accounting for all clients. They need to be providers of safe tourism products.

  2. How do you know that this tourist wasn’t out with friends on a private vessel at the Sand Bar? Would being out there with a watersports operator really mattered? Poor guy probably had a heart attack and the last I heard, you don’t really need a buddy standing in 4 feet of water.

  3. The tourism operator was probably busy watching the other 99 people loaded onto his boat.

    If this man died of a heart attack or some other underlying illness, it wouldn’t have mattered if he were sitting on his couch or waiting at the doctor’s office. It is ludicrous to try and hold the operator responsible. Take a break from your judgement and dishing out of blame and think about what the staff and other people on the boat – including that man’s family – are going through. They probably also don’t need your guilt tossed at them.

  4. My sincere condolences to the family of this gentleman.
    In my view some people make a goal of finding someone to blame. The death of a tourist at the Sand Bar while tragic does not mean necessarily that an operator was at fault. First of all, the buddy system is not a Law that can be enforced onto visitors and is not perfect. Competent visiting divers and snorkelers in many instances, do not want to be made responsible of having to watch someone else, especially if there could be blame to go around and they are total strangers. Those of us who work in the water sport industry constantly pair up divers and snorkelers in an effort to maintain an old rule that has been typically accepted as common sense but in reality put people at serious risk by using their buddy as a crotch and hides weaknesses that can endanger two people instead of just one. As it was determined in past incidents, most or all of them happened while in the water or close to it but were as a result of health problems. The only irresponsibility if any, was that these people in no such a good health, took a chance to be diving or swimming when they probably shouldn’t have. However it may be, people have the right to enjoy the outdoors with all their risks and they have the right to exercise their own responsibility at the critical moment. Life is a series of decisions. Life is a series of risks. I am proud of the water sports industry members I know. They keep a watchful eye on our visitors, train and prepare the best they can for the unexpected and protect lives of divers and snorkelers by prevention. Many bad situations have been avoided by the watchful eye of Dive Masters. One small price to pay though is the occasionally aggressiveness and back talk by customers who with the know what I am doing insist on putting a 28 pound weight belt, are out of breath just by walking to the back of the boat, don’t hear the crew safety briefing and exceed regular profiles. The aggravations are many but our safety standards are high and will continue to be so.

Comments are closed.