Four people have died and another five are missing following incidents in Cayman Islands waters since Jan. 1, according to police records.
Typically, the Cayman Islands has averaged between nine and 10 water-related fatalities per year.
So far, Cayman has already reported more water-related incidents this year than in the first three months of 2015, when six people died and a seventh went missing and was presumed drowned.
Search called off
On Friday, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reported it had ended its search and recovery operation for five boaters missing at sea since March 6. Gary Mullings, Edsell Haylock, Nicholas Watler and two children, 11-year-old Kamron Brown and 9-year-old Kanyi Brown never returned from a fishing trip to 12 Mile Bank.
“There were no significant discoveries or developments to report within that operation with respect to those missing,” according to an RCIPS statement.
The police will keep an open missing persons file on the boaters, according to a spokesperson.
On Thursday, at the start of a long Easter weekend, an elderly American man from Illinois died after getting into difficulty while snorkeling near Harbour Drive. Police identified the drowning victim as 79-year-old Delmer Nelson.
It was the fourth swimming or diving related death reported since the start of the year, all of which involved tourists.
The other incidents were:
March 16 – On Cayman Brac, police officers responded to a report of an unconscious man being taken to a dock during the mid-morning. Police said the man had been scuba diving and lost consciousness. The victim, James B. Campbell, 65, of Kentucky, U.S., was pronounced dead at Faith Hospital.
Jan. 27 – A 54-year-old tourist got into trouble during the early afternoon near the coast of North West Point in West Bay. Police said a dive crew attempted to resuscitate the man unsuccessfully. The victim, Michael D. English of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was pronounced dead at the Cayman Islands Hospital.
Jan. 20 – A man snorkeling off Cemetery Beach in West Bay got in difficulty and attempts to revive him were not successful. Joseph Dieschbourg, 65, of Illinois, U.S. died at the Cayman Islands Hospital.