Visitor dies after North Side snorkel trip

| 29/04/2017 | 23 Comments

(CNS): UPDATED The 72-year-old man who was pronounced dead at the Cayman Islands Hospital on Wednesday after a snorkelling trip in North Side has been named as Peter Zhu, from Canada. Police are also asking the individuals aboard a nearby vessel who helped bring the man ashore to contact the police. Zhu got into difficulty and became unconscious in the water around 10:45 in the Sand Point Road area of  North Side on Wednesday 26 April. 

Several people helped in pulling him to shore ,where they performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. The man was dead on arrival at the hospital just after noon. Anyone who can identify the boat or the people who assisted are asked to make contact with PC Gordon of the Joint Marine Unit at 649 7710.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Very sad, but look it’s simple. You’re breathing OUT carbon dioxide (CO2) up a long thin tube. If you breathe shallow (as older people tend to do), you DON’T push all the CO2 out of the snorkel, and instead of oxygen, you breathe the CO2 back in. In small amounts that’s not so bad, but doing that for half an hour or more, and your blood vessels and arteries will start spasming including the ones leading to and from your heart… Then you’re in trouble. What we need is a little education from the diving companies AND a little intelligence from the tourists.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stopping the diving and watersports companies freely excluding liability for personal injury and death would save many lives. Cayman should look to the UK which severely limits the former and completely bans the latter.

      • Greg says:

        He was not on a tour with a watersport company. He was vacationing at the Retreat with his family and was out in the water with a raft just off Rum Point by the first buoy marker. A Kelly’s Watersport boat responded and pulled him on board and over to the Rum Point dock.

        • Anonymous says:

          So? The issue on the thread is what can be done to reduce the annual carnage in the waters off Cayman and this proposal is a simple step that would have a massive effect on death rates.

          • Greg says:

            Agreed. Though, I was clarifying that this incident was not related to diving companies lack of education / responsibility. The sad reality is that this elderly man either did not know his limits, did not follow intelligent protocol, had a health incident in the water or some combination of the above. His family traveled fro Canada for a vacation and they went home faced with a tremendous loss. The initial poster makes a great point about education – though I believe this family used their own equipment and not gear provided by Red Sail or elsewhere.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Can you say snorkel vest?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Condolences to the family of the deceased, but dying while enjoying something is the best way to go. We are born to die. Lucky are those who die in an instant.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What in the world is causing all of these water deaths? They are generally elderly people as well? Perhaps they can’t manage our climate? This is disturbing.

    • GT Voter says:

      There’s nothing “disturbing” about this. Its likely that his health wasn’t in the best condition, especially consdidering the age.

      May he RIP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Greed. Lack of decent regulation. Permitting water sports companies to exclude liability for negligence. Just all part of the general systemic corruption in prioritising local company profits over visitor safety to protect voter base really.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am a licensed and insured Watersports Operator in the Cayman Islands. I have been in business for the past 7 years and every year, I would have had at least “one drowning” if me and my staff were not 110% vigilant in our surroundings.

    Knock on wood – but I haven’t had any serious injuries or deaths and we work hard to keep it that way. It does not mean that it can’t happen, as tourists will deliberately not disclose underlying medical conditions, just to see the beauty of our waters and all that it contains.

    Unfortunately, if you tell a tourist not to do something, that is exactly what they are going to do or attempt to do, or forget not to do, before a tour is completed.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Una need to know your limits man. This is happening at an alarming rate. Sit on the beach and drink a pina colada. Una be doing the most.

  7. Anonymous says:

    One word

    …….. Lifegaurds

    • Anonymous says:

      The leading cause of death is life.

    • Anonymous says:

      One word: Where?

      • Anonymous says:

        Why, every 200 yards all along the entire coast of the Cayman Islands, of course. We’ll hire THOUSANDS of them. Put all unemployed Caymanians to work! Yeah!

        Except we cannot possibly afford to do that. And as long as there is an uncovered spot then damn sure that is where someone will decide to go snorkeling and end up in trouble.

      • Anonymous says:

        For starters how about at least each resort that is beachside. Rum point for sure. Stationed at Stingray City…a must. All these areas bring in tons of dollars . When so many water related incidents happen I cannot see a good reason why they should nor hire lifeguards. No reason they couldn’t train locals, who are used to the water, the conditions during specific weather. Always looking for ways to create jobs well there you go. And it wouldn’t hurt marketing with tourism either.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unfortunately, lifeguards won’t save anyone that has had a massive heart attack. My husband had a heart attack at home and I failed to save his life. He was just 56yrs. Understandably, if people are in water that exacerbates the problem and they could drown while suffering this disabling attack. Snorkelling is a relatively leisurely sport, you are not swimming a marathon. Anything can happen to any of us wherever we are or whatever we are doing. Many people die in bed in their sleep. We cannot put our lives on hold unless it’s patently obvious we have a dangerous life threatening illness. In turn we cannot blame your operators for such tragedies unless they are pushing people to the limit. They only learn what they are told by tourists and can then advise accordingly.
      My condolences to this gentlemans family.

      • Anonymous says:

        As a former dive-master I have to disagree with your contention that snorkeling is a leisurely activity.

        A human loses body heat 20-25 times faster in water than it does in air of the same temperature. This physiological process is exhausting for those people who are not physically fit.

        Think for a second how tired you would be if you “leisurely” rode a bicycle for an hour and you hadn’t engaged in any meaningful physical activity in years – the same applies to snorkeling. Some humans are in such poor shape that walking half a mile is too strenuous but they still get in the water!!!

        Life happens! Enjoy it before it ends!


  8. Anonymous says:

    I would be very interested to learn how many of these deaths are due to heart attacks and how many are due to drowning. If I was going to have a heart attack and die anywhere, face down looking at the fishies in the gorgeous warm water of the Cayman Islands would be top of my list.

    • Al Catraz says:

      Agreed. When it’s your time, it’s your time. Is a 72 year old man who goes swimming at risk of a heart attack? Yes. Does he probably know this? Yes. Does he do it anyway? Yes.

      It’s much better than not getting out of bed in the morning out of fear of what might befall you.

  9. Sharkey says:

    My sympathy for the victim family. Again I would say why the hell Condos, Hotels and Government not trying to give the visitors to our Islands a little preventive precautionary measures , like telling the visitors safe places to snorkel, currents in certain areas, using floatation devices, and always snorkel in group of two or more , and making sure that people knows how to snorkel and handle themselves in the water .

    I think that if the above mentioned was done it would prevent tragedy , and be turned into enjoyed experience , when that happens that’s worth millions in advertisement . Just like being a perfect host at your party or house everyone leaves happy and can’t wait for the next party .

    • Al Catraz says:

      Regardless of what measures one might take, a certain number middle-aged to elderly men who undertake strenuous exercise while on vacation are going to have heart attacks. As one such middle-aged to elderly man, I understand that I am at heightened risk for this sort of thing. Should I leave this world doing something I enjoy in a beautiful place, then that is one of the more desirable options for however my life might end.

      These activities have risks, and particularly for the class of persons who regularly take these risks. Again, am I of the right gender and age for this to happen? Yes. Do I take that risk? Yes. But life is full of risks in exchange for living it. The decision to take these risks rests with the individual.

      But there is nothing that is going to stop men like me from going snorkeling, just as there is nothing that is going to stop men like me from being prone to heart attacks, strokes, and the various other unfortunate occasions that go with the territory.

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