Jan 22, 2016 News
The bodies of two Guyanese were recovered yesterday, two days after the boat they were traveling in sank in the Atlantic Ocean on its way to Mabaruma from neighbouring Venezuela.
Kaieteur News was able to confirm that the body of 24-year-old Joel King of Port Kaituma was handed over to his relatives yesterday after it was pulled from a fishing seine, while that of a 13-year-old girl is presently lying at the Mabaruma Mortuary.
The two were among 16 passengers who were travelling in a loaded metal boat that encountered rough waters, early Tuesday morning.
Another woman, 37-year-old Pamela Khedna of Wales, West Bank Demerara, died a few minutes after she was pulled from the water and taken back to the Venezuelan shore.
The boat left Venezuela on Monday night for the six-hour trip to Mabaruma. About an hour into the journey it encountered rough waters and went down. According to reports, after the boat sank several passengers managed to grab on to floating objects that were hurled into the ocean and waited for help.
Some of them were lucky that the crew of another passenger boat was passing and spotted them.
However, that boat only managed to rescue eight survivors, and took them back to Venezuela which was the nearer shore.
Kaieteur News understands that Pamela Khedna was among those rescued. However she appeared to be suffering from a heart attack at the time.
“She did not drown. When they picked her up and put her on the boat, she was bleeding through she nose. By the time they reach land with she, she start kicking up and then she died,” a source in the Mabaruma area told this newspaper.
When contacted, her relatives on the West Bank of Demerara informed that the woman had spent most of her life in the Spanish-speaking country, having left Guyana as a child.
“Only she brother living over here. We didn’t know she was coming to Guyana. But we hear about the tragedy and we see she brother keep wake fuh she,” the relative told Kaieteur News.
After the first set of survivors were taken ashore, the Venezuelan military that was stationed at the border were informed and they went out and rescued five other persons.
They did not find King and the 13-year old passenger, who is believed to be from the Mabaruma settlement but was residing with relatives in Venezuela.
King’s uncle, Cloyd Peters, who was part of the search and rescue team, said after hearing about the mishap, he and others set out from Mabaruma to assist anyone who might be stranded on the water.
“I go out fuh search because I know after a time he gon float. Yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon some fishermen find he and tie he pon a beacon. Last night (Wednesday) I went out but couldn’t find he because it dark,” Peters said.
He waited for daylight yesterday and travelled back out to sea and finally located the body of his nephew and brought it back to Guyana through Imbotero.
“I does travel that area and when the (Venezuelan) soldiers give me directions where the incident happen, I search and find he,” Peters told this newspaper.
“We were going to bury him at Mabaruma, but his family wanted to take him to Port Kaituma, so we built a box and threw some chemicals on the body. We don’t know if it will keep until tomorrow (today),” another relative said.
Meanwhile, the body of the 13-year-old girl was discovered later yesterday afternoon in the high seas.
“Like she drift out and this evening they bring she in,” Peters said.
Kaieteur News was informed that police at Mabaruma viewed both bodies and took photographs of them as part of their investigations.
According to the man, contrary to other reports, only three persons perished as a result of the mishap.
“Everybody calling and saying all kinds of things, but I went out there. People like talk and that is why I went out there myself,” he stated.
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