Belize Coast Guard Mourns Loss as Seaman Kimane Garcia’s Body Handed Over
The body of Seaman Kimane Garcia was officially handed over to his family today. It was a brutal day for the Belize Coast Guard as many of them watched as Garcia’s body was transferred of the headquarters’ compound. Reporter Vejea Alvarez reports.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: It was a somber day for the rank and file of the Belize Coast Guard as twenty-four-year-old Kiman Garcia’s body was ferried to the mainland. Just before noon, the sailor arrived at the place he called his second home for the past five years. On Wednesday afternoon, after spending three weeks on Ambergris Caye, Garcia went overboard on a BCG vessel.
RADM Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “The initial report that we received so far was that the vessel hit something below the surface and caused cockswain to lose control of the vessel. Two members went overboard. One of them we believe got cut by the propeller of the of the vessel and also received head injuries.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The BCG immediately sprang into action and sent a vessel to meet the injured sailors. But despite their efforts to save the seamen, Garcia succumbed.
RADM Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “We handed him over to the emergency services in San Pedro with the hope of stabilizing him in order to bring him into Belize City. Unfortunately he was pronounced dead upon arrival in San Pedro.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Garcia was a father of one and our newsroom understands that he was excited to return home and spend time with his son and loved ones. But today, his family, friends, and colleagues welcomed him home in the back of an ambulance. A row of saluting sailors stood by in mourning in silence as Garcia’s weeping family received his body.
RADM Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “It’s a very unfortunate situation. We’ve never had a casualty of this nature in the Coast Guard and so it’s a very hard time for us.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: But what exactly happened is yet to be ascertained. BCG Commandant Rear Admiral Elton Bennett explained that the work to get to the bottom of the incident has commenced.
RADM Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard: “We’re asking San Pedro police to commence their investigation and that investigation will be very broad. As a matter of fact we’re also asking the Belize Port Authority to get involved to do an independent investigation from a marine casualty perspective to see if there was anything relating to safety, seaworthiness of vessel or navigation error that could have resulted in the accident. So it’s a very broad investigation. Of course we’ll be doing an internal board of inquiry as well to look at a very detailed step by step activities that occurred.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News.
Our newsroom was told that several members of the Belize Coast Guard had begun counseling sessions today.