(CMR) Swift response from residents at Coral Bay Village on Spotts Beach this morning is said to have saved the lives of four snorkelers in the area. Eyewitnesses shared the harrowing ordeal exclusively with Cayman Marl Road.
The snorkelers were at the reef to the north of Spotts Dock shortly after 10:00 am when they started experiencing some difficulty with the currents in the area. One man, in particular, was in serious distress and is said to have nearly drowned. A number of residents at Coral Bay Village heard the calls for help and immediately offered assistance.
We understand that one resident, from South Africa, was “stellar in his rapid and effective response”. He paddled out to the snorkelers and brought the most distressed one to shore and then was able to tow the others to safety until further assistance arrived. They were visibly distressed from the ordeal. Other residents contacted 911 immediately. The police and ambulance responded promptly to the scene and all snorkelers survived the rough waves without being injured.
Residents are encouraging all beachfront properties and government to invest in lifesaving equipment sharing:
“This is a low-cost option that as we saw today can save lives. Every government and every waterfront condo should at least purchase a kayak and life jackets.”
Weather services are have warned that a Nor'wester with wave action would be impacting the Cayman area today. That area is known to be dangerous for snorkelers and swimmers and signage warns of the strong currents.
Coral Bay Village's strata had previously purchased an emergency response kayak, life jacket, and life preserver after the death of an elderly tourist in that area in February 2018. The rescue kayak is stationed at Coral Bay Village. It is dedicated to Greg Powell and Mr. Rule, both men lost their lives while swimming in the waters of Spotts Beach. The boat is a part of a plan by residents to take matters into their own hands to protect those swimming in the water.
Ben Minton, said at the time that the loss of his brother-in-law, Steve Rule, would not be in vain as they were committed to making a rescue kayak available for future use. He shared then:
“Rather than just jumping in the water by themselves, it empowers people to save people and that is the whole idea, at least it gives you a fighting chance to save somebody and that’s all we want to do,”