US visitor dies after Rum Point snorkelling trip

| 13/02/2018 | 47 Comments
Rum Point Cayman Islands

Rum Point, Grand Cayman

(CNS): A 60-year-old man who was visiting the Cayman Islands from the United States drowned off Rum Point in North Side yesterday when he got caught in a difficult current, according to police reports. The man was snorkelling with a friend in the afternoon when both men were caught in a current. As the current picked up, they experienced difficulties swimming and were carried further out to sea. Having lost sight of the victim, his friend made it back to shore and raised the alarm.

Police and other emergency services were called around 3:25pm to the location. A fire officer found the man unresponsive in the water and pulled him ashore, where first aid was administered. He was then taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

This was the second incident yesterday where a visitor was lost at sea while swimming. A 65-year-old man also visiting Cayman from the US drowned in the water off Spotts Beach around lunchtime, Monday.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Just wondering if the new type of snorkel masks suspected to be linked to recent rise of deaths elsewhere could be playing a role here as well;

    – Who

  2. Anonymous says:

    So many people are dying here while snorkelling or diving that it raises a lot of questions. e.g is everything on the up and up or is there something more than meets the eye.Are US authorities contacted to find out who, if anyone, benefits from the death? Are these all accidents or carelessness, or should homicide or suicide be investigated.(If someone has recently bought a million dollar insurance policy on my life I would certainly have to think twice about having them as my dive/snorkelling buddy)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Very Sad story to read

  4. Anonymous says:

    Blaming emergency services/ responders is inappropriate. The nearest ambulance to Rum point is stationed at the north side health clinic. That is at least 15 minutes to rum point. Great….but if that ambulance, which is rather busy and it’s coverage area is from rum point to Bodden Town, is already on an emergency/ had to reposition itself- because if the town and west bay ambulance are out you do so in an attempt to get mid island so you are better positioned to cover the whole island- you are nowhere close to responding to an emergency in either distant district on the island. It is what it is. Could we use at least one more ambulance in service due to increase in call volume and increase in population with 20,000 cruise shippers. Yes. But in the grand scheme of things this will do little to help. When it is busy out that’s just what it is busy. Often all three trucks are sent on emergencies within a short time frame. The island is left without coverage for a time and while a fourth truck would help sometimes , sadly it would not. You can only do one emergency at a time. That involves responding to the emergency, treating the patient, transporting the patient, and giving the patient over to the hospital. This then involves a whole other arena which is that while EMS is busy the hospital / emergency room is also overcrowded/ no beds available which then delays EMS again. That’s a whole other issue which unfortunately involves people using the emergency room as their primary doctor for fever, sniffles, my toe hurts, I need a sick note for work cause I’m to sick to work. This ties up resources and rooms which should be reserved for TRUE Emergencies. I know people don’t wanna hear it but it’s the truth. Many of the “ emergencies” people go to the emergency room for should be treated at the district health centers. That is what they are there for. People….use them please. Oh , and to add to the problem is the relentless number of people who call 911 and want an ambulance to transport them to the hospital. Same type of so called emergencies- toe pain, tummy ache, headache( popular one), etc…… many of these folks do not need an ambulance. A family member / friend with a car will do just fine. But no, we call an ambulance and then…omg….family members pile in a car and want to follow the ambulance to the hospital. ??????? Baffles the mind and wastes the resources yet again. Right so let’s just sound it out and this is truth not fiction. North side ambulance gets called to east end for a 20 year old man with a headache…that’s it, a headache. Now the ambulance is taking him to hospital( without lights and sirens blaring mind you as this is not an emergency), and a person drowns at rum point. What chance does that person have??????? I won’t put a % on it but I would say it is substantially lower than it would have been. That’s just one example but again it’s truth and it happens throughout all the districts.
    I could go on and on with other examples but I would be here all day adding to my novel. I will leave it here. In defense of all of our emergency responders on island. You can only be at one place/ one emergency at a time. Treating that person at that time is the priority. This will unfortunately leave someone else waiting. There is no easy fix. This problems exists in every country not just Cayman.

    Ps. People , slow down on the road, put you kids in seatbelts/ car seats , stop the dangerous overtaking, and show some Cayman Kindness!

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Very well said 2.27. Fully support what you just said. Blame appropriation is the name of the game in most CNS posts. Wish it would change.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is blaming the emergency services . Just opening up debate on the obvious stretching of emergency resources through the increased demand created by tourism.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree that the blame should not be placed on emergency responders. BT district alone has grown massively in the last 5 years and too many people call the ambulance to get a ride.

      As I have previously stated in other posts, the blame should be with Government who continues to increase population and visitor size but does not grow the infrastructure simultaneously to support the growth, including the number of available ambulances and emergency personal.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Snorkel vests should be a mandatory rental item with masks and snorkels. Then it is the person snorkelling that makes a decision to use it or not.
    Anyone not used to swimming for long periods of time should be using a vest. Both of these men should have been using a vest. EVERY ocean on the planet has currents and the winds over the past few days here have been HUGE!
    Common sense prevails. Where you do not have the knowledge about the waters you are swimming in, being overly cautious is sound advice.
    I’ve been here for over 25 years and even I would not snorkel in these conditions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have some respect. This is a relative and one of the most amazing husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle…etc… he did not disrespect the ocean. It was a horrible, terrible tragedy. Respect the family that is now living through this hell. Shame on you.

    • Julie Bouta says:

      My husband Dennis was NOT a horrible swimmer. You would know that if you were his friend. He taught all of our children and our grandchildren to swim. He swam in many lakes and oceans, lived on a lake with a boat where jumping in the middle of the lake for a swim was something he always did. Please refrain from your negative and uneducated comments. Painful words.

    • Julie Bouta says:

      My husband was a strong swimmer, if you were his friend , you would know that. He taught his 3 children and 5 of our 8 older grandchildren . He swam in many lakes and oceans and as we reside on a lake, for 38+ years and have a boat, he jumped off the boat countless times without a life jacket. Please refrain from your negative and uneducated comments. This is painful enough.

    • John says:

      Will, your comments are unnecessary, insensitive, and despicable. Are you Maggie’s son? You should be ashamed of yourself. My most heartfelt condolences to Julie and the entire family. Dennis was a great man.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is so sad to see these folks coming to our island to enjoy only to return home one less heart broken and devastated. Every beach that I’ve travelled abroad to either has lifeguards or warning/advisory signs with certain hours that people are allowed in the water. Caymans beaches over the past have suffered too many losses that I’m sure could have been prevented had lifeguards been at watch. What is more important- lifeguards on a salary or someone’s life??

    • Anonymous says:

      People just have to use common sense.

      • Anonymous says:

        You clearly have no loved ones… how I ask, do you think you are making this horrible situation any better. I feel badly for you and the soul you do not have…. I happen to have one and hope you don’t ever have to go through any tragedies in your life.

      • Anonymous says:

        At this raw and heart wrenching time… realize you’re words make the pain worse.i know nothing about you other than your words. Which clearly prove that you are an ugly ugly human… use your time for better causes… spare us of your lack of empathy.

        • Anonymous says:

          Too many die because they cannot adequately assess the risks of watersports, especially the elderly. To some this is a one off tragedy, but this is a fortnightly occurrence in Cayman’s peak season, and tip-toeing around the truth will not help someone who is alive today stay alive in the future.

  7. JP says:

    I am the step daughter of the 65 year old man who drowned on Monday, and my father died on the same beach six years ago from a snorkeling related heart attack. Getting EMS in both cases took too long, and now my mother is a widow for the second time. These accidents obviously make me question the safety of snorkeling in the Cayman Islands.

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      I am very saddened by your two losses, and offer deepest condolensces to you and your family. However, let us not use such a broad brush and question the safety of snorkelling in The Cayman Islands. If you take a look at the anecdotal history of snorkelling related fatalities, you will quickly see the predominant factors of (1) Snorkelling near channels where currents flow swiftly, and (2) age and fitness level. In all fairness, hundreds of thousands of persons snorkel safely in Cayman every year without any issues, and enjoy their experience. It really boils down to a common sense matter of avoiding obvious danger spots, and being sure that you can endure long spells in the water.

    • Anonymous says:

      Snorkelling is a very dangerous activity for people that age. Snorkelling at a location a long long road away from the nearest medical centre increases the risks. Risks were taken, and in this case no doubt taken more consciously that for many because of prior events.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sorry to hear that, but you have to understand that it is no one fault but the person taking the risk.

    • T Gordon says:

      Apologies, if this is at all inappropriate but it was me who found your step father in the water. Please pass on my sincere condolences to your mother and your family as I didn’t get a chance to do this at the time. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more for him.

    • Anonymous says:

      JP did you or your mother advise your step dad of your father’s death at that beach and of the time taken for EMS to get there?

    • Anonymous says:

      JP I am truly sorry for your double loss, no one should have to suffer that. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.To all those trying to defend Cayman, I understand why, it is our Island and we love it, but let’s understand in the best Caymankind way this lady’s and her family’s distress.You would pretty much feel the same if it happened to you.
      In view of the number of sea related deaths every year, to me it would seem appropriate that CIG should study exactly what happened in each case over the last 5-10 years, and to come up with at least some precautions to assist and protect our visitors. That could be trained beach guards, that could be signs showing that there may be strong currents, that could be supervised snorkeling in the more dangerous spots, and perhaps even warnings on health and the stress to body and heart if you should be unfortunate enough to be caught in a current, or indeed what to do if you are caught in one. JP’s point on the EMS arrival-valid and we all know it. Maybe we need highly trained first responders at key places.

      We cannot stop every death, the sea is cruel, but we can make sure we avoid as many as possible with simple and cost effective precautions.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sorry for your loss and emabarrassed by the insensitive comments in response to yours.
      As far as I know, there are no signs on the Spotts beach warning of strong currents in that area although there used to be. There is no excuse for the signs not being posted and your family is not the first or only ones to have lost loved ones there. Signs are cheap and life is priceless. No excuses, Cayman. Post warnings on all our swim spots that we know can be hazardous due to currents. Our tourists will thank us for it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know what type of snorkeling equipment these people were using? In Hawaii, there have been a number of recent deaths by snorkelers using the new full face mask snorkels.

  9. West bay Premier says:

    But what really baffles to see the lack of interest to topics like all the drownings that is happening in the Cayman Islands . That there’s no discussion on the topic . I would think that trying to save a life and trying to prevent it from happening is more important than Alden getting a new car .

    • Anonymous says:

      Gangs, murders, robbery, car thieves, corruption, and of course blaming Jamaica-America-and the UK for all problems seems to make much better headlines.
      Does that help?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Probably a good time for the DOT and the emergency services to look at increasing emergency resources when large numbers of tourists are visiting the island. Regularly putting 20,000 cruise ship passengers on the island must be stretching the emergency services.

    • Anonymous says:

      Especially EMS. There are only 3 Ambulances in Service at a time on this island. More people more medical emergencies.
      We are more focused on tourism than getting our own resources sorted out!

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe tourists by ship & plane should be informed about the lack of lifeguards and the general delay in ambulance services BEFORE stepping foot on Cayman rock. Tourists want to know about all the activities (excursions) before landing, why not give them some mild statistics about ocean safety and recent deaths?
        Why not??
        Because it might detour tourism??
        Don’t worry, internal street violence will take care of that.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stretches my patience too.

    • West bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 9:48 am , If the Emergency services are increased , what would that do in preventing any of the need for the increase in services ? Prevention is the cure .

      • Anonymous says:

        The increase in number of tourists on the island increases the likelihood of emergency incidents, especially when they are involved in high risk activities like watersports. There will always be incidents when tourists are involved in the activities which are the backbone of the Cayman tourism product.

        DOT is reaping the benefits of the diverted cruise ship tourism affected by the 2017 hurricane season. There should be some consideration of the potential for increased emergency incidents on the days when the population of the island is significantly increased. If DOT really cared about their tourism product they should be funding extra emergency coverage on these days.

      • Anonymous says:

        Would do nothing.

  11. West bay Premier says:

    I think that something is not adding up in all these drownings today , two in one day . There’s a lot of questions that need to be asked in the investigations. If they were snorkeling north in between the reef and west of the point on the shallow coral , then I can believe that current could have played a role . Then that depend on the weather conditions at the time of the accident , if it was calm then the current is minimal . But I never heard of two friends out snorkeling, and one gets in trouble, and the other goes to get help .
    Then life vest would have been very helpful in this situation.

    That’s what I said in my comment on the Spots drownings article , that we should be more responsible to the Tourist by giving them these kind of WARNINGS about where to go snorkeling and swimming and other places not to go for their safety , and not be so cold hearted like some people of other destinations I know that just want your money and after they get it they don’t care no more for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      With a strong East- NE breeze blowing , as has been the norm the past several weeks, a very strong current exists just off the dock at Rum Point. Wind is blowing from the direction of the Retreat , comes around the corner & the current gets strong in that area. Having swam there when Triathlons used to be staged at Rum Point, I speak from experience. This can be a current that a Triathlete will have difficulty swimming in, or against. You don’t have to be far off the small beach to experience this current , you only need to be parallel with the end of the dock.
      The same goes for Spott’s Beach and just off the small dock there. As soon as you swim out far enough & get in the region where the turtle grass flats meet the inner edge of the reef , a formidable current can be experienced. Signs and warnings will assist in giving the public the necessary alert , but in the absence of older swimmers heeding the warnings and being mindful of their own physical limitations and medical condition relating to swimming, some onus falls on people entering these areas to be careful, life vests or swimming floatation vests worn , good equipment and waterman-ship skills , don’t go out without a buddy/partner. Asses the conditions , have a plan.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lived here all of my life and I didn’t know that. Warning signs are needed.

        • West bay Premier says:

          5:33 am , it’s not you we are talking about , it’s not you that are drowning. It’s the Tourist that need to be warned about all the dangerous places not to go to prevent a tragedy from happening to them .

      • Anonymous says:

        Sounds like the property owner may have failed to adequately warn those using the facility.

      • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

        Post at 3.08 your common sense look at the problem, and detailed local knowledge is a breath of fresh air on CNS, for a change from the normal blame appropriation and mud throwing normally indulged in. And, you did not drag politics into it!! LOL. Keep it up, we need more balance in this forum.

  12. Anonymous says:

    3 in a week- very sad. Condolences to family and friends.

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