November 23, 2020


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Warnings signs will be erected at danger spot: Police investigate second death in a week

Adam Rankine

Police, working with the Port Authority, and the family of the second drowning victim at Pedro Castle, will seek to post warnings in the area, hoping to restrict access to waters after the latest incident.

The effort comes as Justin Henry, 16, the first drowning victim, was interred at George Town’s Dixie Cemetery on Monday evening after jumping from the bluff on Boxing Day.

Prior to his Monday Church of God funeral, Justin had been commemorated at a Sunday candlelight ceremony at the George Town Primary Annex, even as police pulled the body of Adam Rankine, 21, from the same Pedro Bluff waters.

Yesterday, RCIPS Marine Unit Inspector Clive Smith said police,  following the second incident, were renewing efforts to signpost the rocky areas adjacent to the Pedro Castle attraction, seeking to “find out who is responsible for the area. We hope to have something in the near future.”

Pedro Bluff

Acknowledging the area is private property, Inspector Smith said inquiries were under way: “We are not able to see yet, but are looking into getting proper signs up. We send our condolences to the family, and are pleading for others to think before going there.”

One member of Mr Rankine’s family said the group was distraught, struggling with the tragedy, but, like police, would seek to warn others about swimming at the bluffs.

“Every kid on the island has been down there, people have done it for years. Signs should be put there, and I am going to try to get something,” she said.

“There should at least be reels of rope or life rings or something. Rather than people saying that encourages swimming there, it’s better to have something, at least a couple of lines, rather than nothing at all.”

At Sunday’s George Town gathering Minster of Health, Youth and Sports Mark Scotland described his frustration at the difficulty of posting warning signs in the area.

“How much can we do?” he asked. “It’s private property down there and we can’t just put up fences and signs. People will climb over or go around, but it’s limited what we can do.”

Inspector Smith described the events surrounding Mr Rankine’s death.

“It was a similar situation to what took place a week ago,” he said, referring to Justin Henry. “The Marine Department attended Pedro Bluff, but the weather conditions were worse, with very strong currents. Mr Rankine went off the cliffs at the same point as Justin Henry, watched by his sister and one other female.

“The call,” he said, “came at 4:30, the same time as the other one, and the Marine Unit arrived within half-an-hour, about 5:00, with volunteer rescue divers from the Red Cross.”

No helicopters were called, he said, and the body was recovered at 5:37, “taking shorter than the first time. The sister was able to pinpoint the area,” Inspector Smith said.

The search for Justin Henry had involved the RCIPS helicopter, but was discontinued at nightfall on Boxing Day. The search resumed Tuesday (27) at 9:30 am, and the body was finally found in 39 feet of water, 50 yards offshore.

The family of Mr Rankine hoped to have a funeral on Sunday at one of the Seventh Day Adventist churches.

“It hasn’t been set yet, and we aren’t sure which one, but we are moving in that direction. We may have a candlelight service as well,” she said, describing the family’s pain.

“His 15-year-old sister watched her brother drown,” she said. “She had come down only on Saturday from Canada and he was going away with them for New Year’s.”


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