Mar 11, 2019 News
…elderly woman among 13 survivors
Ranks from the Police Marine Division were up to late yesterday scouring the Waini River for possible survivors from a boat explosion that has reportedly left at least one person dead and several others missing.
Kaieteur News understands that the explosion occurred at around 08:00 hrs shortly after the vessel, which had ferried some 24 passengers from Venezuela, arrived at Barima/Waini, Region One.
Sources said that the body of an unidentified man, with lacerations to the legs, was taken to Mabaruma Hospital.
Police later reported that the body of a badly burnt man, identified as Antonio Wells, a Venezuelan, washed ashore at Shell Beach.
The captain of the vessel is said to be among the missing.
Kaieteur News was told that at least 13 other passengers made it to shore. Among them was 73-year-old Phyllis Archer, who suffered burns to the face and hands. She was treated at the Mabaruma Hospital before being transported around 17:00 hrs to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
A police release issued late last night indicated that some 19 of the passengers were Venezuelans who were subsequently rescued by a Venezuelan vessel.
Reports indicate that the elderly, Mrs. Archer lives in Venezuela and was travelling with her husband, Carl Archer, who is blind, when the mishap occurred.
She has reportedly said she was holding onto her husband, but was forced to release him. Her last sight of her spouse was seeing “his head on fire.”
There is speculation that sparks may have ignited the gasoline-fuelled vessel.
In a release late last night, police said that the passengers included five Guyanese, while the others were Venezuelans.
Police said that the vessel had come from Sanfille, Port a Das, located near the Venezuela border, at around 11:00 hrs on Saturday. The vessel, captained by a Guyanese, left for Charity via the Barima River at around 04:00 hrs.
Phyllis Archer and her husband were sitting in the back seat when she heard an explosion.
The boat immediately burst into flames and she saw passengers jumping overboard. The elderly woman remained in the boat as it began to sink and suffered burns to her body. She was rescued but there was no sign of her husband.
(See tomorrow’s Kaieteur News for an update)
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