CYDEC Conference 2019

Relatives of five lost at sea mark anniversary

It has been one year since the tragic disappearance of Caymanians Gary Mullings, Nicholas Watler, Edsell Haylock and children Kanyi and Kamron Brown. One year ago today rescue personnel found their overturned boat 20 miles offshore and the five remain lost at sea.
Friends and family were gathered at Public Beach in West Bay for a memorial in their honour. Mourners gathered under cabanas decorated with photos and balloons to remember the five souls lost at sea in a fishing trip gone wrong last March 6th.
Today we take a look back at that tragic incident and the events that unfolded afterwards.
It began as a day like any other for Gary Mullings, Nicholas Watler, Edsell Haylock and children Kanyi and Kamron Brown. But with rough seas and engine trouble that quickly changed leaving a mother’s heartache in its wake.

“Just to see my kids again… I can’t do this,” Melody Mullings-Brown, mother of the boys, sobbed.

The Police and their search and rescue efforts would take a beating from relatives like the boys’ father Imron Brown.

“An eleven year-old and a nine year-old, my babies… right? What is so complicated for you? To go out there and try and find them? Aren’t you supposed to be saving lives?” the grieving father sobbed.

A day later the missing five’s overturned boat was found about 20 miles Southwest of George Town. The police sought to explain their efforts in the search.

“You’ve got 10 hours that have passed weather conditions that have deteriorated. As far as where do we search. Do we search 12 miles, 30 miles 40 miles 50 miles 60 miles off shore. Where do we start our search. This is under difficult and challenging weather conditions,” Mr Walton explained.
Those SAR efforts would trigger a UK led inquiry and a subsequent report finding no fault with the police search… But noted several changes could be made to equipment, manpower and coordination in future incidents. Coming out of the tragedy the family found support.

“Being out there, persons coming in contact with me. People that I didn’t even know. They have been very sympathetic and they’ve been showing a lot of support and a lot of prayers to myself and my families,” Hyman Mullings, brother of Gary Mullings.

On Saturday (March 4) relatives of Mr Haylock hosted a memorial sharing memories and sending prayers in his honour and those presumed lost at sea.

Police today say their thoughts and prayers are with the families. They say the investigation is still open as a missing persons investigation and while what happened March 6 last year remains a mystery. Police say they believe the boat overturned in rough seas.

About the author

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath

Reshma Ragoonath is a Trinidadian journalist with 18 years media experience with a strong background in print with her most recent stint at The Cayman Reporter. She has a BA in Mass Communications, as well as, an Associate degree in Journalism and Public Relations.

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