Hopes fade for missing five

| 12/01/2010

(CNS): Update Tuesday 3:45pm — The RCIPS has now named the five people missing at sea since Sunday. They are: Raynell Wood (36) of Prospect (the owner of the boat), his 13-year-old daughter Michelle Wood, Astor Range (36) of Spotts, Joshua Gilman (28) of North Sound, and Jeamie Avila (19) of Prospect. While the search for those missing resumed this morning, police say that with each day that passes the likelihood of finding them alive reduces.  Police have asked that anyone who wishes to assist in the search should contact the incident command centre on 814-7811.

None of the missing has yet been found but around 3.06pm yesterday afternoon the overturned canoe they were in was spotted about 200 yards outside the Rum Point channel by Rescue One, the search and rescue helicopter.

The land, air and sea searches resumed today, Tuesday 12 January, the Royal Cayman Island Police Service have reported. The people – who had gone on a fishing trip – left Newlands Dock around 7.00am on Sunday morning (10 January) in a 26-foot canoe. When they had failed to return home by 10.15pm, their families contacted the police. RCIPS Marine unit and Rescue One were immediately deployed.

Police were assisted by the cell phone provider Lime who were able to confirm to the rescue teams that phones owned by the occupants of the vessel stopped working about 9.40am on Sunday morning in the Rum Point area.

Extensive sea searches and air sweeps were undertaken by the Marine unit and Rescue One respectively. As is normal practice in these situations, Rescue One was manned by experienced police spotters. As part of the co-ordinated effort to use all available resources to trace the missing people, the RCIPS air support co-ordinator called upon the services of aircraft operators on the islands to assist. The MRCO aircraft joined the search, as well as a fixed wing plane from Ritz Carlton and a helicopter from the private super-yacht Octopus, which is currently berthed close to South Sound dock.

A number of private boat operators also joined the search and they undertook searches of
specific areas under the direction of the RCIPS. Throughout the day family liaison officers took care of the needs of the families and they continue to keep them updated with developments. Around 3.06pm yesterday afternoon the overturned canoe was spotted about 200 yards outside the Rum Point channel by Rescue One. The Marine unit recovered the vessel with the assistance of Harbour House Marine. The canoe is currently being examined by police.

Today air, sea and shore searches will continue to trace the missing boaters. Rescue One is once again in the air and police divers are searching the reef for any trace of the individuals or their property. Police officers, including dog handlers are searching the shoreline.

Chief Inspector Courtney Miles of the RCIPS Marine Unit said, “While we remain hopeful – we do have to be realistic. With each day that passes we have to accept that the likelihood of finding the five missing people alive reduces. We will continue with extensive searches today on land, air and sea in an effort to trace them or their property. We have already recovered a shoe and the tank of the boat. A number of local boat owners have once again joined the search today. While we are extremely grateful for their assistance we would ask that they liaise directly with us to ensure that we make best use of the resources available.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    May God bless the missing 5 persons and take care of them whether they are still on earth or in heaven.  May he give strength and understanding to all of the families and friends and co-workers left behind.  We should all learn one thing for sure from this incident.  To always respect the power of the sea and to always heed small craft warnings when they are given. Everyone in the Cayman Islands knew a bad norther was headed our way and with it very cold temperatures.  But as the old folks would say "The Lord gives and he taketh away and everyone has a destiny in life". May our Lord continue to bless the Cayman Islands and our people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wish them well and it breaks my heart that a young girl is among the missing.

    It must have been horribly rough going out the cut of the reef.

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Snow says:

    Hoping for the best!


    With each passing moment I pray to the dear Lord that a miracle will be done for those individuals and their safe return.

    My heart go out to all the families/friends, one can only imagine the pain their going through during this difficult time especailly the families.

    To the family members I’ll like to say ” stay strong even when everything seems dark always hold the faith that God holds a light which no storm nor man can out. God will see each of you through this tough time and this Country is praying along with you for their safe return, our hearts go out to  all of you !

    Praying for their safe return.

    God Bless!