Developing: Searchers recover snorkeler’s body

Police and volunteers searched the rough waters off Spotts Thursday morning.
Michael Gourzong
Michael Gourzong

Police and volunteers Thursday morning found the body of a 24-year-old snorkeler who went missing in the water off Spotts Wednesday evening. Savannah-Newlands man Michael Gourzong was snorkeling with two friends at Spotts when he got into difficulty.

Police dispatched the helicopter and marine unit to search the area, and friends and family went to the beach Thursday morning to assist with the search.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service released a statement on the incident late Thursday morning.

“Just after 6 p.m. last night, 29 June, the 9-1-1 Communications Centre received a call regarding a person in distress in the water off Spotts Dock. Three men had been swimming and snorkeling in the water near the reef; two had returned to shore when the waves and current had grown stronger, but the third man, age 24, had not,” the RCIPS statement said.

“Within 15 minutes, a Port Authority vessel, which was the nearest marine asset to the location, crewed by both the Port Authority and police, was on the scene. Uniform officers and marine officers also responded to the location. The police helicopter and crew, including the only available pilot, not on duty at the time, responded to the emergency callout and arrived to the location at 7 p.m. An extensive grid-pattern search following the current and drift pattern and up to a mile offshore, encompassing the entire coast and reef line west of Spotts Beach, was conducted jointly by both the Port Authority vessel and the police helicopter. However, the missing man was not seen,” the release noted.

“The police marine vessel Niven D searched the area throughout the night. At daylight the search resumed by the Niven D and the police helicopter, along with police rescue divers and a police-manned Waverunner.

“Just before 9:30 a.m. this morning, the body of the missing man was found near a private dock close to shore just south of Spotts Beach by the police-manned Waverunner.”

Check back for more on this developing story.