Norwegian businessman and philanthropist Erik Henriksen was killed Monday in a boating accident in the North Sound.
The 58-year-old, who according to friends, owned property at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and hoped to retire to the Cayman Islands, was thrown from his boat along with another man around 6 p.m.
Police said the two men were in the water for “a prolonged period of time” before the incident was reported.
When officers arrived on the scene, Mr. Henriksen was unresponsive. He was transferred to the Cayman Islands Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The other man, 41, who was thrown from the boat, did not need hospital treatment. The vessel, understood to be a 34-foot speedboat with three 350 horsepower engines, was later seen spinning out of control, with no driver, before coming to a stop in the mangroves. Mr. Henriksen was founder, developer and investor in multiple energy and shipping businesses listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Until last year he was chairman of the board of directors of Norwegian Energy Company ASA, also known as Noreco.
He was also a philanthropist and founder of the Aqua Nirvana Foundation, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing clean and safe water to people in developing countries. The charity is currently working on numerous projects in the Masai Mara region of Kenya.
Mr. Henriksen was a frequent visitor to the Cayman Islands and took part in a charity golf cart race in the parking lot of Kirk Market earlier this year, personally donating more than $30,000 to the Frances Bodden Home for Girls and Feed our Future during the event.
Andreas Ugland, businessman and owner of the Cayman Motor Museum, said he knew Mr. Henriksen as one of only a handful of Norwegians who are resident in Cayman.
“He was starting to come here more and more. He had a house at The Ritz and I think he was planning to retire here. I was very sorry to hear about what happened. It is very sad news.”
He said Mr. Henriksen bought the boat only recently.
Marc Langevin, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, said he knew Mr. Henriksen as a generous and colorful character who had been involved with various charity events, including the golf cart race, called the Great Race for Grace, jointly organized by the hotel, Five Mile Capital, Aqua Nirvana and the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre.
“He was a fun character with incredible energy. He was also very generous to donate all that money to local charities. Cayman has lost a good character and a good friend,” he added.
Police are still investigating the circumstances of the death.
In a press statement Tuesday, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service spokeswoman Jacqueline Carpenter said two men, ages 58 and 41, were thrown from their vessel for reasons “yet to be determined” at around 6 p.m. Monday. She said they were in the water for a long period without anyone knowing or rendering assistance.