Police are investigating the death of 21-year-old Marco Rankine who went overboard from a private boat in the North Sound on Sunday.
The body of the victim was recovered by marine unit officers with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service at 9.17pm, a little more than two hours after emergency services were alerted that he was missing overboard in the waters off Grand Cayman.
“Ten rescue boats from RCIPS Marine Unit together with Department of Environment, fire department and other private boat operators launched a search and rescue operation in the North Sound,” a police spokesperson said.
The man’s body was recovered near Booby Quay and taken to Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead.
Family and friends put out an appeal Sunday calling for anyone with boats to come join the search.
Mr. Rankine, from Newlands, is understood to have been on the boat with his girlfriend and her parents when the accident happened. Some relatives report they were told he jumped overboard to retrieve a hat that had blown into the water.
Police said Monday they were continuing to look into the circumstances of the incident.
Relatives of Mr. Rankine describe him as a jovial individual, who was “always laughing”.
“One thing about Marco, he was very spontaneous. When it came to having fun and making people smile, he was the master of that. That was his art,” said cousin Audrianna Rankine. “I’m still in disbelief.”
She confirmed that Mr. Rankine could swim. “We used to go to the swimming pool together. In fact, he taught me how to swim,” she said.
Mr. Rankine worked at Vampt Motors on Walkers Road.
Jason Hauck, the parts manager at Vampt Motors where Mr. Rankine had worked for the past year, said he was an “exceptional worker” whose shoes would be difficult to fill.
“He really was just a fantastic worker, he had such a bright future ahead of him,” said Mr. Hauck, who added that Mr. Rankine had started as a parts driver, had been promoted to clearing parts with customs and then onto the parts sales counter “all within a year – it usually doesn’t happen that quick”.
Mr. Rankine is son of Susan Graham and Peter Rankine. He was a graduate of John Gray High School.