Five missing boaters may have been in the water since before 4 p.m. Sunday, police believe.
As the search for the three men and two boys continues, police have begun to piece together an account of what may have happened to the craft.
The boat was last seen by a fisherman sometime between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday around six miles off the coast of Grand Cayman, with only one of its two engines operating.
Marine police inspector Leo Anglin said examination of the boat, recovered Tuesday by his officers, showed the right engine had likely still been operating at the time it capsized.
The throttle sticks were in forward position, the vessel was in gear and the key was in the ignition.
The left engine cowling was down and the engine was in a down position, corroborating the witness account that the boat was operating on only one of its two 85 horsepower Yamaha engines.
Inspector Anglin said this would have impacted the vessel’s maneuverability and its ability to continually propel through the water, potentially causing difficulties as conditions worsened and waves increased later on Sunday afternoon.
Cellphone records obtained by police from the service providers relating to two phones that were on board, suggest the timing of the incident was just before 4 p.m. Sunday.
Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis said there had been no activity on one of the phones since 2:57 p.m.
At 3:41 p.m., the second cellphone experienced what he described as a “catastrophic disruption” – not something that would be caused by loss of battery.
“We believe that is probably when this incident went awry and the boat experienced severe difficulties that may have overturned the vessel,” Mr. Ennis said.
Based on the timing of the last sighting and the cellphone records, police believe the boat would have been around 5-6 miles offshore at this point, though they acknowledge that precisely what happened and how may never be known.