October 28, 2020

BANANA BOAT TRAGEDY: Teenage girl critical after jet ski crash

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A banana boat near where the accident happened (photo by Christopher Tobutt)

A teenage girl is fighting for her life after she was knocked off an inflatable banana boat by a jet ski rider.

The 16-year-old tourist from New York was yesterday airlifted to Miami in a critical condition.

She was visiting the island onboard a cruise ship and was at the beach with members of her family.

A 24-year-old woman was also injured when the jet ski struck.

Yesterday tourism chiefs in Cayman called for tighter restrictions on the watersports industry. Trina Christian-Savage, Executive Director of the Cayman Islands Tourist Association was distraught at news of Thursday’s accident.

“It’s devastating when something like this happens, I understand.” she said. “If only there was something we could do to prevent this.

The scene of the accident on Public Beach (photo by Christopher Tobutt)

“Our watersports operators will be discussing this. We discuss safety at every meeting. It is a priority for us.

“We want to provide as safe a service as we can, as is possible. Especially with the upcoming holiday season, we call on everyone to be as careful as possible.”

Harry Lalli, president of CITA, was dismayed at the episode.

He added: “It’s a tragic accident. We will look into it because safety is a priority for the association.

CITA President Harry Lalli

“We will certainly look at the regulations to see if they need to be changed. We will find out how it happened and make sure it does not happen again in the future.

“It’s not good for tourism. It’s not good for anybody.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said: “At 12.45 pm on Thursday, 24 November 2011, police received a report that a jet ski had collided with the banana boat just off public beach.

“The jet- ski was being ridden by a 17-year-old male when it collided with a yellow banana shaped inflatable which was being towed by a power boat.

“Two females, aged 16 and 24 years, were thrown from the inflatable and were subsequently transported to the Cayman Islands Hospital for treatment.

”The 24-year-old was released from hospital but the teenager is now in a critical condition and arrangements are being made to airlift her to Florida for treatment.

“All three people involved were cruise ship passengers. The injured girl is from New York, US. Police enquiries into how the collision occurred are ongoing.”

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