Man falls off boat and drowns Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 26 April 2018 00:00

The body of 28 year-old Lionel Velasquez was recovered at sea after being missing for 3 days. In an unfortunate accident, he went overboard during a routine trip out to his worksite at the Turneffe Island Resort.

Before they were besieged with requests for comment from the press, the management of the Turneffe Island Resort sent out a press release providing all the details of the accident which left one of their employees out in open waters between Belize City’s mainland and the Turneffe Island.

Their press release says that on the evening, of Wednesday, April 18, their vessel, the Eagle Ray, left the dock at the Radisson Hotel in Belize City. Onboard were 7 employees and the captain of the vessel. At around 7 p.m., the vessel was traveling through the shipping channel in open waters, and that’s unfortunately when Velasquez lost his footing and fell overboard. Velasquez is a resident of Paraiso Village in the Corozal District, and the Hotel’s management, who are his bosses, say that he was employed as a member of the mechanical engineering team.

Fellow co-workers who witnessed the accident immediately alerted the captain, and he turned the vessel around and circled back to look for Velasquez. A “man overboard” distress signal was sent to the Turneffe Island Resort’s on-duty staff, and immediately, the Belize Coast Guard was notified.

The resort ownership says that immediately, 2 other vessels belonging to them were deployed to the area to assist in the search and rescue effort for Velasquez. The Coast Guard arrived, and everyone in the area conducted searches for him for hours.

At sunrise the following day, the Turneffe Island Resort deployed a helicopter with full search and rescue personnel onboard, and 2 of their vessels went back out to assist the Coast Guard for the entire day. These searches continued on Friday, and it was not until Saturday, April 21, that his body was recovered in the waters between Middle Long Caye and Alligator Caye. A post-mortem confirmed that he drowned.

Police say that they have multiple statements from those onboard the vessel that Wednesday evening, and they all have the corroborated the story that Velasquez lost his footing, tried to grab the boat’s canopy, but unfortunately, he fell into the water. His death is being treated as an accidental drowning.