It has been over a decade since our highways have encountered a horrific scene as yesterday’s where seven persons died, and several others injured. The head on collision between an SUV from Belmopan and a passenger van of Belize City resulted in multiple fatalities, including four Belizeans and three tourists. At today’s press brief, Superintendent of Police, Alejandro Cowo, shared what information they have gathered so far.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, Head, Crimes Investigation Branch, Belize City: “Up to now we have that seven persons passed away, four of them being Belizean nationals and three are foreigners. Several person are still hospitalized at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital which are mostly foreign nationals who all are in a stable condition. What we understand is that the driver of the one of the vehicle Ms.Lourdes Wade she was driving en route to Belmopan and the other vehicle was coming from Belmopan towards Belize City when there was a head on collision which caused the death of the four Belizean nationals and the three foreigners and injuring several other persons. Investigators are still out there determining what exactly led to the accident and who is at fault. I cannot be certain that speeding was a factor, I know the road was slightly wet but in fact yes we have seen that speeding is of concern when travelling on any of the highways within the country and we as drivers must ensure that we have to drive at the limit that is in the law and the limit that we can control. You know some drivers are not as careful as other drivers and this is what we have to consider when we are on the highways.”
As we reported yesterday traffic on the George Price Highway was at a standstill between Hattieville and Belize City. It was so congested that even the ambulances and fire trucks were unable to access the scene of the accident. Many were enraged at how civilian drivers were not giving way to the responders as was noted in today’s press brief.
ASP Alejandro Cowo, Head, Crimes Investigation Branch, Belize City: “That police are out there firstly to protect and preserve life so the first thing that the police did was try to rescue those who were still alive and ensure that they were transported to the hospital. Because of the amount of vehicles that were there blocking both sides of the highway and the amount of police it was highly impossible for the police to clear all the vehicles at the same time because as the time went by more and more vehicles were just added to the line of vehicles that were coming to Belize City and going out of Belize City. We as motorists have to be mindful that whenever we see an ambulance and an ambulance has it’s sirens and the lights are on it’s because it’s some sort of emergency that they are going through; we as drivers must give way to the ambulance because we know that they have somebody inside of the ambulance that needs urgent medical attention and we have to be mindful that we have to clear the way for the ambulance.”
Several US news agencies have carried the story on yesterday’s accident as all the tourists were American nationals. The thirteen of them were passengers of Carnival Cruise. They are 41-year-old Maribel Navarro; 27-year-old David Armijo; 37-year-old Techno Panyarath; 49-year-old Anita Munagala; 53-year-old Seidhar Munagala; 53-year-old Jacqueline Abad who died at the scene and 51-year-old Sara Armijo who also passed away. Carnival Cruise Line has confirmed that of the 13 passengers, seven of them were their guests. They were on a 7-day voyage with Carnival Vista that departed Galveston, Texas USA, on Saturday, November 23, with an expected return of Saturday, November 30.