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Man suffers heart attack during Coast Guard exams

A 31-year-old man is dead after he attempted to fulfil his dream of becoming a part of the Belize Coast Guard.  Brigaile Teck of Libertad Village, Corozal District was at the Coast Guard Headquarters on Saturday, July 27, undergoing the rigorous exam for those desirous of joining the team.  According to a police report, Teck had just completed the swim test when he experienced weakness and had to be rushed for medical treatment.  Captain Elton Bennett, Vice Commander of the Belize Coast Guard spoke to the media on what transpired.

Captain Elton Bennett – Vice Commandant Coast Guard: We had a recruitment drive, we had 360 applicants who entered their dates. The recruitment drive consists of physical tests and academic exams as well. The first activity is the swimming which  the candidates are required to swim two hundred yards after treading water for two minutes and then exit the sea. It was at this point where the applicant Brigaile Teck fell as a casualty after completing the swim. He was walking from the finish point towards the ladder and whilst exiting on the ladder he appeared to be faint. Two of the safety supervisors grabbed a hold of him and walked him over to the ambulance where he was handed over to a medic. The medic immediately did his assessment on Mr. Teck and realized that there was no pulse at that time. Mr. Teck was then placed into the ambulance, CPR was conducted immediately. Yes we do medical screening on the day of the recruitment drive but this was the third or fourth activity of the day, the swimming was first so you need to be able to swim first. What we put out is to be able to know how to swim, he swam okay, the medical screening would come after that. At this stage our notice for applicants requires you to be medically fit so the initial advertisement that goes out from the Coast Guard requires you to be medically fit and physically fit. You receive that, you say that you are, then you show up and we do the screening.

Courtney Menzies: “So as far as Coast Guard authorities know this man had no pre-existing conditions?”

Captain Elton Bennett – Vice Commandant Coast Guard: As far as we know, no, no pre existing condition, we have spoken to the family as well and there is no indication of any pre-existing condition.”

So how was a man in this thirties able to qualify for the Coast Guard tryouts when their cut off age is 24? Captain Bennett also explained this.

Captain Elton Bennett – Vice Commandant Coast Guard: “What happened is because of the first few syndicates we are losing people too quick. For example the first syndicate that had thirty applicants by the time that syndicate was finished with the swim and the run it was down to two so we realize that the attrition rate was too high. We then called in people who were outside the barrier. We had about three hundred people waiting outside the barrier to be called and Mr. Brigaile Teck was in one of those last syndicates because we are trying to bring in numbers to ensure that we had at least two hundred and fifty to reach the written exam so that was how he entered the compound as one of the last syndicates.”

Teck was the father of two children – a boy and a girl. The Coast Guard is reportedly helping his family with funeral arrangements.///////