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Dive boat damaged after lightning strike near Don Foster’s

Employees at Don Foster’s Dive Cayman told Cayman 27 a bolt of lightning apparently struck one of the company’s dive boats. It happened Friday morning (3 August) just before 8 AM.

No one was on the boat at the time and no one was injured, but nonetheless, it gave staff members quite a shock.

“We were all sitting here trying to figure out a plan for the day, we weren’t sure what was going on with the lightning storms,” said Lauren Mann of Don Foster’s Dive Cayman. “Then we heard the biggest crack of lightning for the morning, I knew it was really really close, saw the flash, so we immediately ran out to check the boat. There was a huge cloud of smoke coming out.”

A neighbor captured the puff of smoke on camera moments after the flash. Don Foster’s dive vessel Cayman Sky took the brunt of this apparent lightning strike.

“It was super super loud. Very unexpected,” said Ms. Mann.

Image courtesy: Jim Mauer

“There was a massive bolt, it look like it arced over to that crane, over at the construction site at Fin there, and there was another massive bolt that came down right after it, right over top of the dive shop,” said Nick Curtis.

From his bicycle on Memorial Drive, he had a different vantage point.

“I didn’t see it actually get hit, we were just talking with the neighbors, they said there was a little bit of a fireball, and a big puff of smoke,” said Mr. Curtis.

Both Mr. Curtis and Ms. Mann told Cayman 27 the vessel itself is still structurally intact, but a fire extinguisher and some electrical components were destroyed.

“We’ve got to replace the wiring harness, we’re going to need a new radio, a new antenna,” said Mr. Curtis.

“All of the wiring behind the helm station is completely melted and the wires have actually burnt through and detached themselves completely,” said Ms. Mann.

“It was definitely a shocking start to the morning,” quipped Mr. Curtis.

All joking aside, staff at the dive centre are acutely aware that the scenario could have played out much differently.

“Thankfully nobody was out on the boat just yet,” said Ms. Mann.

“We are just blessed, blessed that no one was on board and no one was hurt,” said Mr. Curtis.

By early afternoon calm had been restored and guests could be seen snorkeling on the house reef.

Don Foster’s Dive Cayman said some rewiring will be necessary to get Cayman Sky back up and running. The boat is expected to be out of service for just a few days.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to josephavary@hurleysmedia.ky

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