Ambulance blocked on way to 7MB emergency

| 13/06/2013

(CNS): Updated — The 81-year-old man who died during an ocean swim on Thursday morning off Seven Mile Beach has been named as Louis Janvier DeBiase. Amid concerns that the ambulance was delayed in getting to him because of barricades placed along the service road in the recently closed area of the West Bay Roadpolcie say there appear to be no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death. A police spokesperson confirmed that the RCIPS received a report a little before 11am on Thursday (13 June) that the man had got into some difficulties swimming in the Calico Jack area. He was reportedly pulled from the water and taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town, where he was pronounced dead.

However, it is understood that the ambulance also got stuck as it tried to leave the scene across the newly sanded area of the former road.

Police said Thursday afternoon that they had no further details and enquiries were continuing into what had taken place. However, there is every indication that the closure of the West Bay Road and the sand covered strip added to the emergency services difficulties in reaching and leaving the scene.

Police confirmed  that DeBiase was visiting Cayman on a cruise ship from New York state.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In this situation, the ambulance crew were definitely to blame – who drives an ambulance on sand? Surely they know how much these vehicles weigh, they are in fact larger than your typical ambulance as they have an even larger patient compartment. Even though these vehicles have double tyres there is no way they would drive onto the beach and then out of that soft sand again. 

    I also happen to know, personally, that the manager of the EMS has been contacted multiple times in regards to any temporary road changes that would be happening on the island in order to prevent the ambulance crews from encountering situations such as this. Apparently the EMS manager has never seen it fit to accept that offer. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    So much noise from those who go out of their way to defend the obvious negligence of removing the road, yet so little sense in proving it. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    I believe that the ambulance crew here are not required to have special licenses for large emergency vehicles. Some ambulance drivers here are just that, people who drive the ambulances, same license that a 16 y/o gets driving a small Toyota Corolla. Having said that there isn't a license for common sense that one should have not to drive onto the sand.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually, you are completely incorrect. Before anyone can drive an ambulance, police car, fire truck or any other emergency vehicle, one has to complete an EVOC course – Emergency Vehicles Operations Course. Depending on the vehicle, you also have to complete a defensive driving course. Members of the EMS in Cayman are also required to get a Group 4 license, which is not the same license that a "16 y/o gets driving a small Toyota Corolla". 

  4. Anonymous says:

    An ambulance also recenly ran into the driveway of a house across the road from me then sped off tearing it up- they seem to be in such a rush they don't think sometimes!

    • Anonymous says:

      And  I should clarify- they ran INTO THE BUILDING and then sped off. Last time I saw them called to a building in town they drove straight past it and we stood there waiting for them to realise and turn around…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it’s time for lifeguards in Cayman

  6. Anonymous says:

    More arrogance and contempt, "lets just block a road and to hell with the consequences"… I wonder how much this check will cost them. 

  7. Anonymous says:

    Seriously how can an ambulance crew expect to drive over sand??? Are they trialling some new off-road ambulances now??? Do they try and drive on sand anywhere else on island? How can an ambulance have so much trouble getting to public beach when I can quite easily do it myself without all of the training these paramedics get.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Some incredibly COLD HEARTED  people making CAYMAN look bad by the looks of these comments and reaction to the comments so far. 

    SAD, SAD Day for not only the man and his family but for the CAYMAN ISLANDS as well.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That Stretch of road should have NEVER been close this is just the first incident to happen in that area  and the emergency crew will have Difficulties getting to the patients.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is a perfectly good parking lot that they should have used and avoided going directly on the sand.   If this happened instead on the Ritz beach, the ambulance would have parked on West Bay Road and the victim would have to be wheeled across the sand and then on the grass etc to get to West Bay Road. 

      Its amazing how some people try to blame everythng that happens to the road closure!


  10. Anonymous says:



  11. Anonymous says:

    Who drives an ambulance on sand? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Who digs up an entire 1,000 foot double wide stretch of asphalt that cost millions of dollars to lay down, when at least a portion of it could have been left in place for such emergency situations? 


  12. Just Askin' says:

    81 year old has heart attack. Slow news day? Condolences.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Amazing it took this long for them to figure out that all that crap was going to make it more difficult to get an ambulance to and from public beach to the hospital. I commented on this point as soon as the road closure was suggested. 

    • Mrs. Bombastic says:

      Tell me about it. I had a party there last month for my kid and it was a huge headache to go back and forth with kids and all the stuff for the party so I can only imagine getting an ambulance in and out of there. What a huge mistake they made. I thought the beach was fine just the way it was.

  14. Anonymous says:

    CNS got this story messed up, the ambulance came from west bay up the old road but had to turn around because of barricades, which they could have probably moved because all the barricades i see the construction crews using are plastic and just weigh a few pounds,then they had used the road that goes directly to Calico jacks and when they got the man in the ambulance , decided to drive over sand instead of the paved road got stuck then had to transfer the man to another ambulance that was on standby, no one to blame but bad thinking ambulance crew.

    • Hoping for better days says:

      Thank you! Agreed! What about all the people who live in the eastern districts. hmmm. yes think about it. How long would it have taken an ambulance to get from rum point to g.t. hospital. It seems that disgruntled WESTBAYERS will use anything as an excuse to go on and on about the 1/4 mile of road that has been closed! A man is dead, seemingly because of silly shoices by the paramedics and all you can say is Dart this and that and blah blah blah. Leave it alone. You just making us Caymanians look bad, as usal with your ignorant rhetoric. Surprise ya'll didnt find some way to blame MAC for this too. geeeez

      • Anonymous says:

        Talk about rhetoric. With your kind of thinking we can only hope for better days.  I am not a 'disgruntled WESTBAYER' but do support anything what that makes sense for the greater good of all and that includes tourists. Out in the Eastern districts the distance is a fact of life we accept.  What we do not accept is greed and ignorance changing the face of the landscape. Hence the successful projects against the East End dock and Dump being TRANSFERRED to Bodden Town.

        The part you definitely got right is a poor man is dead and Dart and MAC are certainly both contributing factors to his demise.  May his soul rest in peace.  How many more wll suffer the same fate due to rhetoric like YOURS and people that think and ACT (Dart & Mac) like you?


      • Me says:

        What the heck does this article have to do with West Bayers? The article is about the ambulance not being able to reach a dying man on the beach. And you talk about ignorant and rhetoric! The moon is exploding!!!  It's them dang West Bayers fault!!! lol

      • Anonymous says:

        Well, he did turn over the people’s property to the island overlord to develop and thus erect said barricades. But other than that (to the best of our knowledge haha) his hands is clean and heart pure.

    • Anonymous says:

      What paved road?  The entire section from Harbor Heights to Calico Jacks has been ripped up!!!! What you can blame is stupidity and lack of planning. NOT the ambulance crew who one day might try to save your life one day, if you are so lucky.  Just goes to show who had a plan and who did not since as you rightly mentioned another ambulance was on standby.

      Also at the time when the Ambulance tried to come up past Surfside to Calico Jack's, the road was BLOCKED by large piles of sand, not just the flimsy barricades.  Wonder if the large piles of sand are still there now or if they have conveniently been leveled a day after this tragic incident.

    • Anonymous says:

      The question is whether the barricades were there legally. If they were not and that part of the road is not gazetted as closed, I would sue Dart if I was this mans family. 

  15. Ambulance Stuck says:

    Who will be sued? It has to be Dart for sanding the road! I always said that one arm of government does not talk to the next because when they were giving planning permision to do all this development they should have consulted the ambulance service and other responders for their input!  Law suit certainly will be coming!


  16. Anonymous says:

    Law suit here we come.

    • Anonymous says:

      At 81 years poor man was probally not likely to save him on such a hot day. This is the most heat I have felt in the past five decades. Our sympathy to his family.