December 2, 2020

Dead OAP was keep-fit enthusiast, says brother

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A pensioner whose body was found floating near the Sandbar was a keep-fit enthusiast and marathon runner, his brother has revealed.

Samir Rizk, 71, from the US, was discovered near Stingray City after he got into difficulties during a snorkelling trip.

Yesterday his brother, Kamal, said Samir was an excellent swimmer – and questioned why nobody spotted the man getting into difficulties.

“He said, ‘Nobody knows what happened, but they found his body floating on the water,”’ Kamal Rizk, 60, said Wednesday.

Boaters found Rizk in the water and said that he was unconscious and unresponsive to CPR.  He was taken to Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to the release.

Police say a post-mortem exam is scheduled for Friday to determine how Rizk died.

Rizk, the son of a furniture shop owner in Cairo, Egypt, was the oldest of five children, according to his brother. He moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in the late 1960s shortly after earning a degree in agricultural sciences from the University of Cairo. Soon, his siblings also moved to Raleigh, followed by their parents in the late 1980s.

He met his wife Helen while the two were working at the old Pine State Creamery on Glenwood Avenue; they moved into a split-level home on Shadyside Drive in the 1970s where they lived for more than 35 years. The couple left for the cruise on Sunday.

“Helen was probably on the cruise ship when it happened,” Kamal Rizk.

“I wish she had had been with him. She would have kept an eye on him.”

Kamal Rizk said he last saw his brother the day after Thanksgiving when Samir and Helen came to his home for dinner.

Kamal Rizk described his brother as an excellent swimmer and marathon runner who was in good physical shape. He had just completed a 26-mile marathon in the Washington, D.C., area two about two months ago, and ran a 100-mile race when he was in his 60s.

“When you saw him you would never think he was 71 years old,” Kamal Rizk said.

Kamal Rizk knows well the area where his brother was found; he and his wife went on the same trip in 2009. He said anywhere from five to 10 cruise ships may dock in the area at a time and that the Sand Bar is usually teeming with small boats filled with hundreds of tourists.

Kamal Rizk wonders how nobody managed to see that his brother was in distress.

“Nobody knows what happened. Nobody sees anything. Nobody hears anything,” Kamal Rizk said. “Then my brain starts wandering, and I think it could have been foul play.”

In 1979, while employed with the now-closed Pine State Creamery, Samir Rizk and another employee, Robert B. Redfern of Raleigh, received a patent for a non-flavored yogurt base that could be shipped in a liquid, non-frozen state to retail outlets where flavors could be added, according to a U.S. patent website.

Samir Rizk founded Diary Consulting Services, Inc. in Raleigh about two years ago.

Kamal Rizk described his brother as a devout Christian who attended a Jews for Jesus worship service on weekdays and a regular church service on Sundays. He was also an active supporter of Israel and traveled to Washington each July to work with a group led by evangelist John Hagee to lobby Congress for support of Israel.

Additional reporting by Peggy Neal of the News and Observer, North Carolina.

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