May 27, 2020

Cayman Islands: FURTHER UPDATE: Search and Rescue Operation for Missing Persons now Search & Recovery


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Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 5:48

UPDATE: Search and Rescue Operation Transitions to Search and Recovery Operation

Today, Friday, 11 March, the search and rescue operation for the 5 persons missing at sea since Sunday, 6 March transitioned to a search and recovery operation. The boat on which the missing persons were traveling has been recovered, but no survivors have been found during the search.

Utilizing air assets co-ordinated with data from the United States Coast Guard buoys and Dept. of Environment drift information, nearly 2,000 square miles have been searched since the operation began on Monday morning, 7 March.

As of today the search area, as defined daily through drift analysis and the data provided, is over one hundred miles offshore.

Today senior officers with the RCIPS organized a meeting with family members of the missing to inform them of this development. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families at this time.



Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 3:57 PM

The police marine vessel Guardian deployed again today to continue the search and rescue operation for 5 persons missing since last Sunday, 6 March, together with a second C-130 aircraft provided by the U.S. Coast Guard. This afternoon, due to severely deteriorating weather, the search on sea had to be suspended and the Guardian returned to the marine base in very rough seas. One officer required medical treatment.

The families of the missing persons have been informed of the temporary suspension of the rescue operation.

Officers also conducted a shoreline search today, from Seven Mile Beach to East End.

Yesterday, 8 March, Marine officers turned the capsized Panga boat upright after three hours of effort in 10-12ft. waves. During the course of these efforts, three marine officers received injuries. At approximately 12:30PM marine officers began towing the boat back to the dock George Town.

Senior management met with the families of the missing persons yesterday afternoon to provide them with a full update. Transportation was then provided to take family members to the dock in George Town, where they could see the vessel and speak with marine officers.

“Despite the criticism we have received, our marine officers and our air operations officers have been working tirelessly in this search, and I want them and every other officer who has been involved in this case, whether searching or providing care to victims, to know how much their efforts are noticed and appreciated,” said David Baines, Commissioner of Police. “I also want to thank the volunteers who joined this search both on land and on sea.

Our thoughts remain with the family of the missing. Their grief is evident and understandable. We will continue to do all we can to support them in the days and weeks ahead.”


UPDATE: Search and Rescue Operation for Missing Persons

Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 11:42 AM

As released yesterday, the missing Panga boat with five persons onboard was sighted by the police helicopter at 10:33AM.

After the sighting, circling the vessel and carrying detailed search of the vicinity, including gathering footage for operational purposes, the helicopter returned to the island to refuel. When the helicopter returned to the location after re-fueling, the boat had drifted and could not be relocated at that time.

Yesterday afternoon the USCG deployed a C-130 aircraft to assist the police helicopter with the search-and-rescue operation. A helicopter from also assisted in a coordinated search over a wide area. Around 5:15pm the Cayman Helicopter spotted the overturned Panga boat. The C-130 airplane then dropped a beacon at the site of the Panga, which has been tracked from land.

The police Marine boat Guardian and police helicopter returned to the site this morning.

The police marine vessel Guardian sustained propeller damage in rough waters while leaving the Channel yesterday, and was repaired yesterday afternoon. Yesterday two private boats assisted with the search-and-rescue operation; in response to a call for assistance last night, two other boats responded this morning and are currently at the site with the Guardian.

At this time the Guardian is attempting to right the overturned Panga. The weather in that location has deteriorated, with 10-12 ft. waves.

We will update as soon as there is further information we can share.

We would like to thank the boat captains who have volunteered during the search-and-rescue operation.

It has come to our attention that a brief video clip of the overturned Panga boat has been provided to certain media by private helicopter from Cayman Helicopters. The police were not informed of the release of this material nor was it coordinated through us.

Yesterday we also gathered video for evidentiary and operational purposes when the boat was first spotted by the police helicopter, but out of concern for the families of those on the boat and how such a clip might impact them at this very sensitive time, we did not consider releasing it. It is of course at the media’s discretion to distribute/show this clip or not, we only ask that our colleagues in the media take all aspects of the impact of this clip into consideration.


: : Call For Volunteers: Search and Rescue Operation /Search and Rescue Operation underway for boat with five passengers

Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 5:46 PM

Call For Volunteers: Search and Rescue Operation

The RCIPS Joint Marine Unit is asking for volunteers for the ongoing search and rescue operation for the missing 28ft. Panga boat with three adults and two children on board, last seen around 3PM yesterday.

We are asking for experienced boaters with vessels of 50 ft. or more in length to join the operation tomorrow, which will begin around 8AM. The operation will be done in concert with the C-130 plane deployed by the U.S. Coast Guard, which is conducting an operation until dark this evening and will begin again in the morning.

Those who able to join tomorrow’s operation should call the Joint Marine Unit at 649-7710 and leave their details with officers. They will be contacted at 7AM with further instructions.

As seas are expected to be rough tomorrow as they are today, we are again asking for experienced boaters only.

UPDATE: Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 3:08 PM

This morning just before 11AM the police helicopter discovered the 28ft. Panga boat about 20 miles south west of Grand Cayman.  The boat was overturned.

Further search efforts are underway around the vessel and in the nearby area.  So far no survivors have been found.

Police were alerted to the missing boat and with 5 persons (3 adults and 2 children) on board last night at midnight.   Family members also informed police of a fisherman who stated he had seen the vessel near 12 Mile Bank between 3-4PM, and that water had started to become quite choppy at that time.

Given the description of the boat’s location as being near 12 Mile Bank at approximately 3PM or thereafter, the potential drift pattern of the boat was assessed to be within 20-30 miles of that location. The Air Support Unit determined that a search and rescue could not be undertaken across this wide area in the middle of the night with only one pilot available, and that to do so would endanger both pilot and crew.

The Joint Marine Unit also assessed that due to rough seas and no air support, police marine vessels could not be deployed until the morning.

This morning the Air Support Unit deployed the police helicopter at 8:30AM to begin the search-and-rescue mission.  The JMU police vessel Guardian also deployed at 9AM, but encountered rough seas through the Channel and sustained damage to the rear of the boat, and returned to the marine base.  Two private vessels were deployed this morning to respond to the area where the Panga boat was sighted.  The boat has not been relocated, however, debris from the vessel has been sighted on the water.  The U.S. Coast Guard has deployed a C-130 aircraft to assist with the search this afternoon.

Further investigation has confirmed that the mobile phone belonging to one of the men engaged in no active communication since 2:47PM yesterday afternoon.  We have also confirmed that a phone belonging to another man on the boat was disconnected at 3:41PM yesterday afternoon.

No distress calls were received from the vessel anytime yesterday or today. Police have been informed that there were no life vests on the vessel.

Police met with and informed the families of those on the vessel this morning.

We understand the families’ grief and anguish and express our sadness at these circumstances. We will continue to be available to provide all information and answers to their questions and will continue the search and rescue operation.


Originating story

Around midnight (today), 7 March, police were informed of a vessel missing with three adults and two children on board. The persons had embarked on a fishing trip earlier in the day, Sunday, 6 March, at around 11AM. They were reportedly sighted by another vessel between 3-4PM leaving 12-Mile Bank on track to George Town, with one engine operating.

A description of the vessel and picture are attached. The persons on board are three adult males, one aged 42 and the others unknown, with two boys aged 9 and 11.

After receiving the information early this morning, police immediately made arrangements for a search-and-rescue operation to begin with daylight. The search-and-rescue operation is underway and we will keep you informed of any developments.

All boats, cruise ships and the U.S. Coast Guard have been alerted to the missing vessel’s description and picture. A Silver Command Center has been established at the marine base to coordinate the search. Anyone who sees a vessel of this description or has any further information should contact the George Town Police Station at 949-4222.


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