Search continues in rough seas

| 08/03/2016 | 36 Comments
Cayman News Service

RCIPS Joint Marine Unit (Photo by Kenneth Wright)

(CNS): Police conducting a search for two boys and three men missing at sea since Sunday evening said that they relocated the missing Panga boat on Tuesday. It was first spotted by police yesterday morning, overturned in the ocean some 20 miles off the coast of Grand Cayman, but there was still no sign of survivors at lunchtime today. As the search continued in rough seas, the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit tried to bring the Panga back to shore.

Police explained that the RCIPS helicopter had spotted the boat at just after 10:30am Monday, but rough seas had prevented the JMU vessels from reaching it and bringing it in. The helicopter carried out a detailed search of the vicinity from the air yesterday, including gathering footage, but had to return to shore to refuel and was unable to find the 27ft Panga again when it returned.

The United States Coast Guard deployed a C-130 aircraft to help the police helicopter and Cayman Helicopters also assisted in a coordinated search over a wide area in the afternoon. At around 5:15pm Monday, the Cayman Helicopter spotted the overturned boat and the USCG aircraft was able to drop a beacon at the site, which was tracked from land.

The RCIPS marine boat Guardian and the RCIPS chopper were then able to return to the site this morning, police said, but rough weather has continued to undermine search efforts. The Guardian’s propeller was damaged yesterday morning in the rough seas through the Channel but was repaired in the afternoon, enabling it to go to the location today. The crew of the Guardian have been trying to right the overturned Panga to bring it back to shore but officials said weather in that location continues to deteriorate, with waves reaching 10 to 12 feet.

Two private boats helped with the search-and-rescue operation yesterday. In response to a call for assistance last night, two more boats joined the search this morning and are currently at the site with the Guardian.

Thanking the boat captains who have volunteered during the sea rescue, the police were also at pains to point out that video footage released to some media houses was not from the RCIPS but from Cayman Helicopters. The police said they have footage which has not been released “out of concern for the families of those on the boat”.

The identities of the lost men and children have been widely circulated on social media but there has been no official confirmation on the names of the three local men and two children who were aboard the boat when it set off on a fishing trip to 12 Mile Banks Sunday.

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  1. Alan says:

    Condolences to the family. The loss of the young lads too. Did they have life vests onboard? Thats the owners responsibilty for passengers. I am suprised the rcips didnt try straight away. If you dont try you dont win. There is always risk….you can never eliminate it totally. Best chance was straight away. They were never found so we will never know .
    Great sadness.

  2. mememe says:

    please keep nasty comments, about drug shipping etc to your selves, think of the pain these family’s are going through, young children!! man some of you weirdo’s are sick man, a family outing turned bad with rough seas, my prayers are with the familys…

  3. Anonymous says:

    You are right 10.46. This foreign run police service would be so much better if it was run by Caymanians like the Airport Authority, Post Office, Education, NWDA, Foodball Association and on and on!

    • Anonymous says:

      Think you will find all the officers from sergeant upwards in the boat unit are all Caymanian

    • Shhhhh. says:

      Is it not amazing that horrible tragedies like this manage to bring out the most negative, nasty, ill-informed, and prejudiced comments from people who really bring shame on the kind, loving and considerate, real Caymanian people?

  4. Mobil57 says:

    How many more failures are we going to put up with from our gov’t and this foreign run police service and we need to stop blaming Mr Baines alone for this situation.

  5. Mutton Snapper says:

    You are spot on 6:04 and 6:15am the problem with your lickle argument 10;10pm the previous DTF marine unit set such a high standard with less equipment Less training but better quality officers and track record. That this dismal foreign filled Joint Marine Unit as they called themselves cannot cut the mustard yet they constantly boast and beat up their chest about how great they are in the media showing off drug bust that exposes tactical methods that should be kept secret for obvious reasons. The glory hunters have now proven their worth now by not turning out to rescue two little 9 and 10 year old boys. A national disgrace!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The family made a big mistake telling the police the boat was in distress, all they had to say was that Mullings was pulling up in a big blue boat full of cocaine.

    They would’ve sent the chopper out in a heartbeat.

    Sad, but so f-ing true.

  7. Sharkey says:

    This is beyond my imagination of incompetence on the man that is in charge. of the police department of the Cayman Islands .
    We have a helicopter that can and should be used for search and rescue with two pilots available .
    We just had a tragic lost of 2 young kids and 3 men , which are all some one’s children, I give my condolences to the family’s.

    This is the other part that angers me and should anger everyone too..
    That we don’t have adequate crew / pilots to do a search and rescue any hour of the night or day . Because of this 5 live could have been saved .

    Allar 08/03/2016 10:04 pm comment , says that there’s a young Caymanian that is qualified, do he have all the credentials to be a pilot for the helicopter ? If so then every one should go with him to the man that is in charge of the police department , and demand that this young pilot be hired, just because of this tragic lost we just had, and we don’t know will need the search and rescue next .

  8. Anonymous says:

    Ok, so I’m just going to say it. It’s what many of us are thinking, but aren’t saying, because it’s all being drowned out by the louder, irresponsible voices…especially those with talk shows as their own political campaign channel… but look at the Marine Unit out there killing itself on the seas to bring this boat in! We all know these islands don’t have any sleek search-and-rescue equipment, so why do we expect some kind of squad of superheroes? Going out in the pitch black in bad weather to a spot where a boat was last seen 8 hours before??? Anyone with any experience on that water knows what drift means over that amount of time in rough water! The boat could have been anywhere over the course of 30 miles by the time the parents reported it missing. These marine officers are regular guys taking risks to do their job, probably not in the best of conditions or with the best boats, and getting nothing but stick everywhere, but continuing to do it. Good for them. I may be the only brave voice, but thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dude, they have state of the art equipment and training with the coast guard for these very type of situations. If they can’t do their job they need to find another boat crew who can. This is pathetic. Coast guard does backstrokes in this type of weather in nothing more than some board shorts. You people need to realise that the police here don’t give a flying F about us.

    • Anonymous says:

      The boat is suppose to carry thermal and night as well. NO excuse for them not launching the rescue mission as soon as they we’re alerted. NO Excuse you hear me. They have the equipment and have training with the best rescue ops in the world. You don’t wait for blue sky and calm seas to start your rescue mission while people are in distress.

      • Shhhhh. says:

        You are just another one of those negativity specialists that abound. Have you any idea what search and rescue is like in rough seas? You can hardly see anything in the water for two seconds with the waves and troughs. For goodness sake stop beating up on the Marine Unit guys. By the way, thermal imaging equipment in rough weather is no better than 7X binoculars, so stick to facts and stop talking crap!

  9. Allar says:

    Can you believe we have a helicopter with two pilots and one said he had flown the requisite hours and couldn’t fly at that time yet we have a young Caymanian highly qualified and because he is Caymanian he can’t get a job with the police. But I don’t expect any different with the COP and ppm

    • Anonymous says:

      Who would that be? When did he apply for the job?

    • Anonymous says:

      seriously? Now is not time for you to wallow in self pity about Caymanians this and that!!!! It’s always about Caymanians. Hold your horses and pray that these persons are found safely!!! Strewpsssss!

      • Naya Boy says:

        This is exactly what happens when too many of your kind end up here. Your comment wreaks of resentment. You don’t like things Caymanian why don’t you do us all a really big favour pack ya things up an leave nah?

      • Swordfish Foxtrot says:

        Anon 6:04 and 6:15am you are absolutely correct as for anon 10:10pm with his flimsy drivel of excuses and justification for professional misconduct and incompetence of the RCIPS and its Marine unit he sounds like he is amongst the ranks or should be. The simple fact is that the previous officers of the then DTF Marine unit under Derek Haines set such a high standard for SAR rescues and operations with lesser equipment & Assets and worse conditions is a testimony to the quality and metal and professionalism of his officers. When people were lost at sea it was never because the DTF did not try or refuse to go out in rough seas to at least make an attempt to rescue them. The problem is this was not the first time this Shallow water Navy calling themselves JMU has done it either yet they are always being toasted and elevated by themselves and their overseas masters who implemented this big modernization program and plans for their own economic windfall and employment opportunities and benefits for non Caymanians. Yet they do not hesitate to parade themselves or show off themselves and their equipment running down various drug canoes with minute amounts of drugs on board which by the way should never be disclosed to the criminal element for a number strategic and tactical obvious reasons. All done for the glory of the Golden High Command. Yet they now along with the 3 adults have failed the two little 9 and 11 year boys on this ill-fated boat trip by making a very reckless decision. My prayers go out to those families for their lost and those who were lost.

    • Caymanian Donkey says:

      This caymanian has a helicopter license that as it. He has no hours or training in search and rescue. He has never.flown this helicopter. He isn’t willing to be a copilot right away and train. He doesn’t want a police salary!! Why do you think he doesn’t work for the local charter helicopter company.

      “HE’S NOT QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB”

      OH AND BY THE WAY THIS WAS DISCUSSED ON THE TALK SHOW SOME YEARS AGO AND ABOVE WAS STATED

    • Fisher boy says:

      Blame the police blame the police WTF.
      I was planning on fishing Sunday, I checked the weather Friday and saw a front coming in. Saturday morning did the same and again that evening. Still with hopes the weather won’t come in I checked early Sunday morning the same predictions. ( weather guru).
      So guess what, I didn’t go knowing there was going to be 24 knot plus winds and a small craft warning in effect.

      Simple as that!!!!

      No with regards to safety equipment I carry 15 life vests, flares mirror and a small epurb (GPS tracker) plus all the other safety equipment required by CI law and of course I make sure my wife knows the location I’m fishing and what ruff time we’ll be back in. When heading out by the channel I do a radio check with port authority and let them know how many soles on board and location we are going to fish. Sometime if we change location I’ll call back the PA and let them know as well as sending a message to my wife. If going off shore more than 13 miles I take a satellite phone with me.
      Now the total cost for all the above is nothing besides piece of mind.
      We also carry 48 bottles of water and of course a case of beer and bottle of rum with sodas.

      My boat is the same size 26ft

      This is all comon sense. In fact ask most fishermen who went out what time they went out fishing and what time they came back in. Most I have spoken to left early morning and came in between 2-4pm as the weather was getting really bad. In fact ask “not today bobo” if he would have gone out that afternoon?

      These guys didn’t care about the children’s safety they are to blame for these children’s deaths, not the police.

      I will say this regarding the RCIPS I agree with not sending out the chopper. They had no idea at the time.of the report were these guys went fishing.
      In the morning they got their last location.

      Regarding the police boats. They have the big one. Ok they damaged that going out the reef (incompetent incompetent personally feel ( oh and it was one of their most experienced caymanian casts at the helm. )
      The police have 2 go fast ribs ( designed for ruff weather) these 2 boats can be put on a trailer driven to the lobster pot dock and launched from there.
      Also, I would have called in all crew at -12am and got a game plan. Knowing they couldn’t go out at night. They could chill at the savamah stn for na few hours and or could have launched the go fasts of SMB and chilled for sunrise. Once they had found.out the ruff last.location know the winds and tide they could have head of sore.
      I read everyone also blaming the expats. Police officers for this. Just remember the senior Police office in charge of the Marine unit and helicopter is a caymanian. The boat capt is caymanian, these officers are experienced officers.

      In my option there is only 3 people to blame and that is the 3 adults missing. They are the ones that if not gone fishing we would not be having this discussion now about 5 persons missing and blaming the police. They are to blame for the 2 kids.

      Personally knowing 2 of these individuals there was other plans on the water not fishing.

      Lastly, if I had gone fishing and not been back before dark my wife would have called me, if no answer the wife of the family member I fish with. If they both couldn’t get us ( let say sunset 6:25) she would have notified the RCIPS by then.
      I really wonder why these family members didn’t call sooner. Something was up.

      • Shhhhh. says:

        You say “designed for rough weather …..” You obviously know very little about those boats. They are go-fast interceptors, NOT ROUGH WEATHER BOATS! Like so many other contributors to CNS, please get facts before writing foolishness.

      • Miss says:

        Could have done this or could have done that! Have some damm sympathy or keep your.comments to yourself! These people are our family members.we didn’t ask for what u thought it was or wasnt.they need to be found period! !!!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    But they will chase a boat suspected of carrying drugs any time of the night! Useless RCIPS!

    • SocialiteCommenta says:

      The protocol for chasing down criminals must definitely be different from a search and rescue. Why unnuh so fool thu?!? Suss peas common sense lacking in u Caymanians. Only time Caymanians have a strong voice is to blame public service or expats. The same reason those peopl went to sea in conditions I wouldn’t set my feet on the sand in, the same reason people can bring children to sea- won’t even mention without safety gear IS THE SAME REASON YOU PEOPLE SHOULD STOP POINTING FINGERS. You know the sea you love the sea you know the sea takes just as it gives. You people know how far someone will be drifting at sea in rough weather within 3 hours. I not even saying the adults were irresponsible because it is the norm/ culture to do these trips that I think is terrifying ( since I don’t have seafarers blood) . The police are not to be blamed either ! Knowing how many people go to sea here the casualties are very low.

  11. SSM345 says:

    Just out of curiosity, if the Police chopper is “unavailable”, then surely Cayman Helicopters can assist? Wasn’t Jerome assisting with the protection of our borders or rescue efforts long before the Iron Ching Ching plagued our skies?

    In local rescue efforts it seems to be a trend that when the police boats or chopper are out of order the public are not asked for assistance till well after the fact when they could of actually rendered useful assistance to the RCIPS.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For those of us who are ignorant, what is a “Panga” boat?

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