Third gutted body found
-victim shot in head
The gutted body of a third seaman, with a bullet hole in his head, was found yesterday near the Queenstown, Essequibo foreshore.
But the ongoing search yielded no trace of the fourth crew-member or of the still missing trawler, the Island Princess.
Police said that the body, believed to be that of 46-year-old Herstelling resident, Rickford Bannister, was found at around 17:00 hrs between Anna Regina and Suddie.
Police said that the victim was clad in a pair of red briefs and the body bore a bullet wound to the head and another on one of the legs.
The corpse was in an advanced state of decomposition and police were forced to bury it near the La Union foreshore.
According to reports, an elderly man and two children made the grisly discovery after becoming aware of an unpleasant odour while walking near the seashore.
He then notified the police.
The discovery comes after the bullet-riddled and gutted body of trawler captain, Titus Buckley, 46,
was found at Zeelandia, Wakenaam seashore.
The next day, the body of 25-year-old engineer, Mahendra Singh, was found on the Hamburg Island seashore.
Both of the badly-decomposed bodies had to be buried immediately after post mortems.
Police are still to identify the perpetrators or ascertain why the men were slain.
Still missing and also feared dead is 23-year-old Ryan Chin of Lot 39 Friar’s Rust, Linden. An aunt of Chin’s told Kaieteur News that the man’s mother last saw him on September 19.
She said that Ryan had informed them that he was going to work at sea and was traveling to Trinidad.
According to the aunt, the family learned of the tragedy after reading the newspapers on Thursday. They said that they realised that Ryan was among the victims on Friday, after he was identified among the missing.
Meanwhile, trawler owner, Errol Prince, told Kaieteur News yesterday that he spent most of his time giving statements to police so he was unable to charter a plane to assist in the search as he had done on Tuesday.
However, he said that a team, assisted by persons who know the Parika area, will mount a more intensive search along the Essequibo River today.
On Tuesday, the pilot of the chartered plane travelled as far as Supenaam and Abary but found no trace of the vessel.
Although relatives of Titus Buckley and Mahendra Singh have not seen their bodies, investigators were able to confirm their identities from the description of the items recovered.
Kaieteur News understands that investigators were able to trace a cellular phone found on one of the bodies as belonging to Buckley.
Yesterday, Singh’s 17-year-old wife, Ahalia, identified his watch after visiting CID Headquarters, Eve Leary.
Relatives told this newspaper that Buckley, a father of two, left his home two Tuesday’s ago. His wife, Shanty Rickiram, said that she last spoke to her husband on Saturday.
He told her that he would be home that night and that he asked her to prepare fish.
She said that she removed the fish from the freezer but her husband never returned. She said that she tried calling his cellular phone but it would ring once and stop.
And Singh’s teenage wife said her husband was contacted by his mother-in-law on Saturday morning and he informed her that the vessel was ready to sail and that he had no credit to contact his reputed wife.
According to reports, the crew of the Island Princess had taken the vessel on a trial run to test its seaworthiness for the planned trip to Trinidad.
Their employer last heard from them last week Saturday, while the vessel was moored at a place called Parika Beach.
The crew had indicated that they were coming in to port in the Demerara River when they were contacted around 6pm on Saturday.
However, hours later when they did not show up, several attempts to contact them proved futile.
The following day, the owner of the vessel along with other concerned associates made checks at Friendship, where the boat would normally be moored, but it was not there.
Checks were also made at Parika, since it was felt that the vessel had developed mechanical problems and was towed there. Again it was not found.
Another boat was then used to comb the Atlantic Ocean about 16 miles from shore. And that effort, too, was unsuccessful in locating the missing trawler.
On Monday, the Lighthouse was contacted but no distress signal was received there nor was there any sighting of the trawler.
This led to the owner chartering an aircraft to fly out in search of the missing vessel.