Norwegian businessman killed in boating accident

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. 

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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. 

Erik Henriksen, pictured at the Race for Grace charity golf cart race in Grand Cayman earlier this year.

Erik Henriksen, pictured at the Race for Grace charity golf cart race in Grand Cayman earlier this year.
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  1. That sounds like a very powerfull and fast speedboat, is it possible that they both could have gotten ejected if the driver momentarily lost control. Because of the way they found the boat it sounds like they were thrown out and the boat just kept on going. I would hate to surface in the water after that just to see the boat speeding away.

    Their families and loved one are in my prayers..

  2. Why this is the funniest boating story. To operate a boat that size,and not have the knowledge and experience in the handling of the boat,to not know that your passenger had fallen out of the boat and what had to be done at that time . I wish I was the investigation officer.

  3. Unanswered question or not, there is nothing at all humorous about this story. If he just got the boat and wasn’t that skilled causing his own life it’s very sad story but in no way funny. I could agree that two men getting thrown out of a boat and are safely retrieved from the water might instigate a few giggles but when a life is lost there’s nothing funny about it at all..

    ***Editor’s Note: Our understanding of the original comment was that the word "funny" was used in the sense of odd or unusual, not humorous.***

  4. When I used the word funniest, I was referring to the other man’s story ,about he was thrown out of the boat. Not Mr Henriksen. Not became he found in the water says that he was thrown out of the boat. I sorry if it offended any one.

  5. I would like to pay tribute to a beautiful man "who freely gave," Matthew 10:8. In fact, his mission statement for his beloved charity "The Aqua Nirvana Foundation" is as follows: Everyone on the globe should have accessible, affordable, clean and safe drinking water. What a selfless gift this man has given to this world. I was blessed to have attended "The great race for Grace" that benefited local charities. I happened to find a water bottle that was given out during that race that has the following inscription: "The Aqua Nirvana Foundation, Water is Life."
    As Erik lost his life on the water. His foundation will forever "give life." May the Lord’s Peace that passes all understanding be with his children, family, friends as his foundation continues to Bless with water.