Ohio visitor dies snorkelling in East End

| 30/05/2016 | 21 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): An American tourist visiting the Cayman Islands from Ohio died in East End on Friday after getting into difficulties in the sea. Christina Jean Spradling, who was just 29 years old, got into trouble around 5:30pm while snorkelling with her husband. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the George Town hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 7:15pm. Police said Monday that the matter is under investigation by the RCIPS Joint Marine Unit.

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  1. Carl says:

    I was there at the time of the incident for a last snorkel before sundown and witnessed the crowd from a distance and found out what happened from two crying participants after help and the authorities arrived, very sad indeed . My first thought was how do you drown in 3 feet of water when you can stand up I’ve lived around water in California and now in Florida on the ocean and the sad reality is people drown all over the world from not knowing their own limits and weaknesses . Morritts had the red flag up for strong rip conditions but if your from the Midwest you might not know that, they have signs posted at every pool on property swim at own risk No Lifeguard on duty and I’m almost certain I saw a defibulator in the lobby on the wall. So instead of the outcry for Morritts to become like the states and try to save us from ourselves with more oversight, maybe people with limited water skills should spend a few minutes at Red Sail dive shop and ask a for a few pointers on snorkeling then just a thought go to the shallow end of the pool and practice before challenging the ocean . Maybe something as simple as a disclaimer when guests check in would be the easiest stating you’re on the top of an old Volcano in the middle of the ocean so if you can’t swim please use all necessary safety precautions .

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    • Cathy Buschur says:

      Your comment was one of the best I have ever read concerning a tragedy such as this. I my self am only a “fair” snorkeler and can totally relate to what you are suggesting. If one life can be saved, I thank you for your post!

  2. Julie S says:

    Morritts needs to invest in a defibrillator! There are plenty of us trained in CPR that can use this until emergency arrives. As owners we need to pressure Morritts into purchasing one. This is just so sad. My condolences to her family.

    • A defib was brought out and used. No one knows how long she was actually face down in the water when she was found unconscious. People on vacation administed CPR until medics arrived. Currents didn’t have anything to do with this, otherwise she would have been found at sea and not 20′ from shore.

  3. Tom bayliss says:

    I was there on the beach at the time of this tragic incident I was videoing the volley ball that was taking place and on the the video I have there is a short distress scream about 20 seconds before I see the young lady’s husband running into the sea to her , he gets there shouts for help and another person then runs into the sea to help him, Every person on the beach including all the volleyball players run to try to assist, two young and very brave girls from Wyoming do cpr for at least 15 minutes to try to save a life, I am I think the only person there carrying a cell phone and realize that maybe no one has yet called 911 so I called it and to the best of my knowledge the operator was not aware of this emergency, I ,like the first poster on this thread am an owner at Morritts and was staying in a ground floor floor condo in the grand and I am like they are really sad and upset that this happened on our piece of paradise which is what Morritts resort is ,but this incident has shaken me up and I respectfully request that the cayman authority and the Morritts management take action on this and put in place some measures to try to prevent this happening

    again or if it does to have a better system in place to be able to help the person in need in a more timely manner

  4. Anonymous says:

    We do not know this lovely couple, but watched the tragedy unfold that late afternoon in front of our oceanfront condo at The Morritts – and I haven’t been able to stop thinking them and the trauma since. I know everyone did their best in the moment, but a beautiful life was lost and I couldn’t help think about how things might have played out differently or a future tragedy prevented. In this case it sounds like the couple were experienced in the water, but the sea waters are unpredictable and the undercurrent can shift and be so strong it can sweep you away and cause panic. I don’t know the details of what went wrong, but so much can.
    Morritts – How about a daily resort clinic at the infinity pool just a few steps from where this happened, basics on snorkeling so new snorkelers have some safety tips? 5 year olds to 90 year olds are out there. Advertise a FREE course in your daily flyers left daily on our doors. Make it fun activity and talk about safety. How to clear the water? Get out of trouble? Recognize a strong current and how to deal with it? Suggest life jackets and why. Generally, it’s all fun and seems easy, until something like this happens. We are owners and visit every year – Information costs nothing – and could only be a good thing!
    Emergency – I’ve never thought about the proximity of the hospital in an emergency, until now. The response time, the valuable time lost while waiting for a response – was unbearable to watch. Other guests were trying to help, security was called, and I’m sure the 911 call was made quickly but again, it seemed like forever before help got there for the the wife on the first trip in, and then the husband who was in shock lying on the beach waiting for the second ambulance. It’s not a criticism, I don’t know enough. It just raises a lot of questions.
    East End Guests, what is the emergency protocol? Do you know? I don’t, I’ve never asked until now. Georgetown emergency room 45+minutes away? Not something fun to think about while on vacation, but we are divers too, and this accident has highlighted the issue. How should an emergency be handled on this side of the island? I’ll be asking a lot more questions!! Every East End guest needs to ask and know.
    I am so sad for this beautiful couple and family who lost their beautiful wife, daughter, sister, friend . . . and will not forget, my heart goes out to them.

    • Anonymous says:

      A reply to 8:08am

      I’m sorry you had to witness this tragedy and aren’t able to get it out of your head. To answer/shed some light on your questions, there are only 3 ambulances in service on Grand Cayman at one time. A station in West Bay, George Town and Northside. You said that everyone was waiting for an ambulance and then waiting for a second one to arrive. To shed some light on that situation. Each ambulance is staffed with one BLS(Basic Life Support) provider, that being the EMT and one ALS(Advanced Life Support) provider, that being the Advanced-Emt or Paramedic. Unfortunately it is next to impossible for one paramedic or emt to manage a patient in this critical of condition on their own. The first ambulance probably got there and managed the patient as best possible until the second ambulance that being the Georgetown ambulance arrived or met them enroute to Georgetown hospital. Reason for that being, somebody has to drive the ambulance back to the hospital. Leaving one ALS provider to attempt to do, CPR, Ventilate the patient(breath for them) and push meds. Hence the reason for the second ambulance, because you need that second or third ALS provider to help you.
      In regards to proximity of Health City Hospital, that proposition has been brought up time and time again in situations like these, and no plan has been put in place for the possibility of a patient in this critical condition to go there and be stabilized and receive some form of treatment.
      As far as protocol, nothing has been put in place to my knowledge and probably wont until more people start asking questions and putting pressure on the department heads for answers.
      As far as I’m aware the standing protocol is all patients go to Georgetown hospital first. Get triaged and stabilized then maybe sent to another facility if needed. So, yeah, if you just drowned and are clinically dead or just had a heart attack or maybe just broke your arm and you call an ambulance you are brought to Georgetown Hospital, regardless of condition.
      I absolutely get your concern and am glad to see that people are starting to ask these questions. At the end of the day whether the patient makes it or not, we want to ask ourselves, did our system, protocols and training benefit or fail this patient? If not, we need to improve and there will always be room for improvement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen, fellow owner what a sad sad day that was

  5. Anonymous says:

    These constant snorkeling and diving accidents are nothing short of a tragedy to say the least. However let us just think and use our heads for one second. The “Health City does not have an emergency room” comments are simply not going to cut it anymore. I will tell you with absolute certainty, when you have a patient with, no pulse, not breathing and whose body is suffering from a serious of different shocks, you go to the nearest hospital available! It is like this anywhere in the world. Heath City was created to be this number 1 cardiac hospital “HELLO..” somebody with NO PULSE and is not breathing is considered to be in cardiac arrest is a cardiac patient. My god there are not fools working up there! Cutting down on EMS managing a patient from 45 minutes or greater down to 10 or 15 minutes could have given her a better change. Now I constantly see that when these situations happen people comment “that because the facility does not have a ER means they don’t have the medications/supplies.” I guarantee you that a facility as advanced as Health City does have the meds and supplies. When you have a patient in this condition aka CTD (circling the drain) aka Dead, why the hell not just take to the nearest hospital and give the patient a chance, there is absolutely nothing to lose and damn sure a lot to gain. Some sort of conditions need to be agreed to with the Cayman Islands Hospital as to where a patient would go in this position, aka the nearest one. I am in no way saying that Health city should start accepting patients on a regular basis but yes the most critical ones that are literally facing life and death! Lets give these patients a better chance and bring them to the nearest facility that can help them and not put all the burden on the EMTs and Paramedics that have to keep the patient alive or do CPR and push meds going 50-60mph with little to no room in the back of an ambulance. Lets just give someone a better shot at survival, especially someone so young and that has a fighting chance and do the right thing by them and bring them to the nearest hospital. Health City is more than capable of handling a critical situation like this. The public and Health City might not want to admit that they are capable but they can and will help. Adjust the protocols and do your jobs department heads. Stop making silly excuses for patients as in critical condition as this one.
    Again nothing short of a tragedy again but hopefully the department heads will wake up and do their jobs, change protocols, and put a plan in place so if something like this does happen in east end again (and it WILL) the patient has a greater fighting chance.

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  6. Amy says:

    We were there last year and the my husband and I snorkeled away from each other at Cemetery Beach. He came in exhausted and said the current kept pulling him away. This is probably what happened to the man that they never recovered his body from Massachusetts too! It is scary! My condolences to the family. So sad that what was supposed to be a beautiful vacation, turned so tragic!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Very sad and such a young age. Why couldn’t they take her to shetty?. It must have been 10 mins away as opposed to 45!

    • Anonymous says:

      Health City Cayman Islands (aka the Shetty Hospital) is not equipped with an Emergency Room.

      • Anonymous says:

        Neither is CTMH – but they saved my life 4 years ago in an emergency – Shetty could have at least assessed prior to a transfer. I know its more complicated than that but something to think about.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Time for life guards?

    • Anonymous says:

      Or warnings when undercurrents are strong, or a 15 minute snorkeling clinic offered at the resort daily or a couple of times a week for new snorkelers – can get some guidance and tips such as how to properly use the equipment, what to look out for such as currents and jellyfish, what to do in an emergency. Offer the best and safest areas to snorkel like under and around Mimi’s Dock.

    • Anny says:

      Very sad, indeed….not happy with request to raise monies. States insurance covers vacation accidents.

    • Anonymous says:

      agree…there are alot of snorkelers and i understand its at your own risk but there has been at least one death a year there..so please Morritt’s, let’s not ruin “Isn’t Life Grand”

  9. anonymous says:

    Was she stung by something? May be? I and my son are magnets for jelly fish. We get stung on a regular basis when nobody else around us complains.

  10. anonymous says:

    What was the cause of death? So young to get into difficulties while snorkeling. Condolences to the woman’s family.

    • Anonymous says:

      Real sad, but I wouldn’t say too young to get in difficulties because most of the visitors have no experience in snorkeling. I also understand that a great number chose to go snorkeling/ swimming after having a few drinks. I am not saying that is the case with this incident, bit it has been know to happen frequently. I do not know whether or not the resorts give them any kind of informal tips of things they should not do/ or should do before getting the water, especially if they are not with a snorkeling/diving trip. Condolences to the family

  11. Anonymous says:

    So sad again!

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