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6th water-related death for 2017, 70 year old tourist drowns

An elderly cruise shipper dies while snorkeling in North Sound, the 70-year-old U.S woman is Cayman’s sixth water related death of 2017.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has not released the identity of the woman who drowned yesterday, after encountering difficulties in the water at Coral Gardens.
She was on an excursion snorkeling in Coral Gardens just after 11 am when she began experiencing difficulties.
The visitor was pulled from the water to the boat and persons from the excursion assisted, performing CPR and giving her oxygen. She was brought to shore here at Morgan’s Harbor to be escorted by an ambulance to the hospital.

Operations manager of DNS diving, Rusty Norman says he was returning from a dive when a boat flagged him down.

“We turned around and came back to them and we saw them trying to resuscitate a snorkeler on their boat,” said Rusty Norman, operation manager from DNS Diving.

That snokeler was a 70-year-old US visitor who had been swimming at Coral Gardens when she got into difficulties in the water around 11 am.  Mr. Norman says the lady was transferred onto his boat to get to shore much quicker.

“Our boat was much faster than theirs and we took off to the Yacht Club and called 911 to get an ambulance there as fast as possible,” said Mr. Norman.

CPR was administered as the crew tried to bring the woman back to life, but he said given her condition on the boat it was not looking good.

“She’s non-responsive, no pulse, no breathing,” said Mr. Norman.

Mr. Norman says on the water, there is mutual respect between all the boaters and they all help each other out in emergencies.

“When you’re out on the water, we’re all friends out there, we work together, we help each other , there is no animosity, we’re there for each other in these situations,” said Mr. Norman.

Mr. Norman says boat staff needs to be trained to look out for passengers who seem uneasy going into the water, but he also says passengers need to be more honest.

“People have to be responsible and honest for their own condition, if they are not swimmers, this is not a good trip for them, during a snorkeling trip, if you can’t swim, it’s not probably the best thing,” said Mr. Norman.

He points out waiver forms are filled out for liability issues, but Mr. Norman says people lie and that can cause issues as well.

“You can write no I’m not taking medication for a heart condition, but they are and we’ve had that happen on boats,” said Mr. Norman.

Mr. Norman, who has worked in diving all around the Caribbean, says Cayman is one of the safest places to dive or snorkel, but when mother nature is involved unfortunately, people will still lose their lives.

Police are yet to release the woman’s identity in the drowning, we reached out to the Ministry of Tourism for comment on this incident, we are yet to hear back.

About the author

Philipp Richter

Philipp Richter

Philipp Richter was born in Austria and moved to the Cayman Islands at the age of three. Throughout his life, he has always enjoyed documenting his surroundings with cameras. Studying television broadcasting and communications, he now can show the reality of life in Grand Cayman to the public.

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