Sep 20, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – The bodies of the two men who went missing after a boat en-route to Bartica, Region Seven on Saturday crashed into a beacon in Essequibo River have been recovered.
This was confirmed by Commander of Region Seven, Senior Superintendent Dion Moore who informed this publication that the bodies were recovered on Monday between 06:00hrs and 08:00hrs in the Calf Island area, Essequibo River where the accident occurred. The men have been identified as: Randy Adams called ‘Addi’, a well known businessman of Bartica and Alvin Leitch called ‘Spanish Boss’. According to Commander Moore, the bodies are presently at the Bartica Hospital awaiting post mortem examinations.
As previously reported, the boat mishap occurred between 18:45hrs and 19:00hrs in the vicinity of Calf Island, Essequibo River. On board the vessel were ten passengers and among them Darrel Romeo, a popular DJ called Magnum. The captain of the vessel, Jermin Blackman told police that he was trying to navigate around a damaged beacon located about 100 feet east of Calf Island but collided with it instead. As result of the crash, a hole was formed at the bottom of the boat and it began taking in water.
Blackman said he attempted to sail ashore with the sinking vessel but it sank very quickly and he along with his bowman, Lamuel Allen, 18, and the passengers were left with no choice but to swim to shore. News had reached persons in Bartica and other boatmen there sped out to rescue them. However, when the rescue mission was over, the two passengers could not be found.
Police reported that they are unclear whether the two passengers were wearing life jackets at the time of the incident. Those who survived were taken to the Bartica Hospital for treatment while Blackman and his bowman were taken into police custody assisting with investigations.
As investigation into the fatal incident continues, Minister of Public Works with responsibility for transportation, Juan Edghill in a statement explained that based on information received most of the persons on board were reportedly not wearing lifejackets, even though it was reported that there were several on board. According to the statement, while Blackman is in possession of a valid license to operate such a boat, the boat was uncertified and not permitted to operate on the Parika – Bartica passenger service.
Further, boats on this service are not allowed to operate during the hours of darkness, the statement added. “MARAD’s record reflects that the last authorised departure was by the “LADY ZENIELL” – a boat licensed to operate within the system, at 17:10 hrs. The sunset at Bartica was approximately 18:00 hours. MARAD has designated 17:00 hours as the latest departure time for boats to depart Parika or Bartica on this service, so as to arrive before dark,” the minister explained.
The vessel in the mishap named “CARLOS’, it reportedly departed from the Parika Stelling at approximately 17: 30 hours after MARAD’s monitors would have concluded work for the day. The minister added that the issue of unlicensed “outside” boats transporting passengers on the waterways is actively engaging the attention of the Administration. He warned citizens against boarding water taxis/speedboats operating outside of the regulated system and hours of operation. “MARAD, as the regulatory authority, also wishes to reiterate that all persons using boats/ water taxis must properly and securely wear lifejackets,” the statement noted. (In our Monday edition we inaccurately named the boat captain Jermaine Blackman. For this error we apologise.)
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