Lake Mainstay tragedy… Suddie Hospital maintains medical pros were on scene
Patrons of the Lake Mainstay Regatta have claimed that no medical personnel were on the scene at the time of the boat collision last Sunday, but this claim is being denied by the manager of the Suddie Hospital.
Hospital Administrator, Boodnarine Ramnarine, told Kaieteur News that the management of the Resort did request the presence of medical personnel and an ambulance, but given the fact that the health facility has only one ambulance, arrangements were made for the organizers to transport a doctor, a male Nurse, and an orthopedist to the Regatta.
He added that had he agreed to send the hospital’s only ambulance to the event, it would have hindered their response to the fatal Lima Public Road accident which occurred just minutes before, in which two lives were lost, and several other persons were injured.
At the ill-fated 12th edition of the Lake Mainstay Regatta, prominent boat racer Orin ‘Monty’ Belle attempted to negotiate a turn during the second lap of the first race of the day, which catered for the 90 horse power vessels. During this, the boat behind Belle, piloted by Dave Younge, clipped his and Younge and his vessel flew above the surface of the water, landing on Belle as he piloted the ‘Iron Charlie.’
He was severely lacerated by the propellers, sustaining injuries to his chest, hands and legs.
As patrons looked on anxiously at what was happening out in the water, it was observed that immediately after the accident, the race was still continuing.
However, it was Younge who, after realizing that his competitor had been seriously injured, turned his boat around to lend assistance. While doing so, he realized that his boat was damaged, and because he stopped, it sunk.
By that time, the racers lined along the lake’s shores, recognized the severity of the collision, and ventured out to help.
Belle was transported to the shore, and a call was subsequently made by the Master of Ceremonies, Lyndon ‘Jumbie’ Jones for patrons who might be of the medical profession, to tend to Belle who had been bleeding profusely.
Even after this, there was no sign of a prepared medical team or lifeguard.
It was after several minutes that an injured Belle was transported in a pick-up to the Suddie Regional Hospital. Many were of the opinion that had there been a more prompt response from a medical team, Belle would have survived.
The racer of Carabese Hill, Bartica, in Region Seven died while receiving medical attention at the Suddie Hospital shortly after the incident which occurred at a few minutes past noon.
And a post mortem conducted at the Georgetown Hospital yesterday revealed that he died of multiple incised wounds.
Commenting on the incident, Neil Kumar, Director of Sport at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport said that even though he was not at the regatta, and does not have all the details as to what occurred, he does see the sudden turn attempted by Belle as dangerous, especially since he was not wearing a helmet.
When asked about whom the tragic accident should be attributed to, Kumar noted that he does not believe that the management should be, or could be penalized for the incident. However, he added that as per protocol, there was supposed to be a well prepared medical team on standby.
Mr. Kumar is of the stern view that stricter rules should be imposed for such risky events, and has promised to zero in on the safety aspects of such dangerous sports.