Families request privacy

| 13/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, search for five missing at sea(CNS): Update Tuesday 11pm — The families of the five people who have been missing since they failed to return from a fishing trip on Sunday are appealing for privacy to allow them to come to terms with the incident and the fact that their loved ones are still missing. Following extensive searches by the RCIPS and many members of the public on Tuesday, police said they had recovered a number of life vests that could have been on the boat, in the Patrick’s Island area, but there were no other signs of the people or their possessions. The search stopped at dusk but will continue again at first light and police are asking local divers if they can assist in the continuing operation.

Police press officer, Janet Dougall, said Tuesday night that the RCIPS had been asked to convey the message that, while the family members are very appreciative of the public’s continued interest in the ongoing search and the support shown time at this very difficult time, they are being ‘bombarded’ by questions and calls from concerned members of the public. Many of these calls relate to rumours which are circulating suggesting that bodies have been found. However, the RCIPS stated that the search for all five missing people would continue Wednesday and nothing of significance has been found as of Tuesday night.

“We will make the media aware of any developments as and when they occur,” Dougall said. Member of the public who have a pressing desire to pass on messages of support to the family may contact the duty inspector at George Town police office on 949-4222.

Chief Inspector Courtney Miles of the RCIPS Marine Unit said Tuesday evening that more than 50 officers at sea and along the coast were joined by many private boaters and divers who helped with the extensive search.

Thanking all those who had helped in the effort so far, Miles said that aside from the use of Cayman Helicopters, the RCIPS Marine Unit had assistance from Paul Allen, whose super-yacht Octopus is currently anchored off Grand Cayman and which has a helicopter on board. The Ritz Carlton also added its fixed wing aircraft to the air search.

Although the weather has proved challenging, Miles stated that with so much manpower the search covered a considerable area before it was called off when the light faded this evening. Miles said the search will continue at first light on Wednesday but the chances of finding the five people alive had now faded further.

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 set off on a fishing trip on Sunday morning. The alarm was raised on Sunday evening when they group did not return and family members were unable to contact anyone on the boat.

The 26 foot canoe in which the group had gone fishing was found partly submerged east of the Sandbar/Rum point Channel on Monday afternoon and a number of personal possessions of those on board as well as the boats fuel tank have also been recovered.

“With each day that passes we have to accept that the likelihood of finding the five missing people alive reduces,” he said. “We will continue with extensive searches on land, air and sea in an effort to trace them or their property.”

Police have asked that anyone who wishes to assist in the search should contact the incident command centre on 814-7811 so that they can liaise directly with the police to ensure that the best use of the resources is made. “Anyone that can help we will give them something to do,” he added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    My husband has a boat and just called the number provided and they said “we’ll call u if we need any assistance.”

    So maybe they already have enough private boats out there?

    My prayers with the famlies during these very hard and sad times.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is such a very sad situation my prayers go out to the FAMILIES draw your strength from GOD.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is just so devastating, almost unbearable to deal with as everyone prays for the safety of these loved ones – I hope that others will take note of this disaster and be more careful how we venture out to sea in such dangerous weather. May God bless the families of these lost souls.