The search and rescue mission undertaken by members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Search and Rescue Unit, the Royal Bahamas Police Marine Division, BASRA, Unites States Air Force, and United States Coast Guard, for six (6) individuals who are unaccounted for after their vessel capsized in waters in off Grand Bahama has since been suspended.
After capsizing in waters near Memory Rock off west End Grand Bahama on Thursday 10th June 2021, seven (7) Haitian Nationals were rescued early Friday morning. A coordinated response by the RBDF, RDPF, BASRA Northern Bahamas, US Air Force, and the USCG ensued. Two deceased bodies were discovered inside the capsized vessel. A massive search for unaccounted for individuals followed and the area was saturated on Friday and Saturday before the search was called off Sunday afternoon. To date nine (9) persons were rescued, two (2) deceased bodies recovered, and five (5) persons missing.
Survivors told authorities that their 24ft white boat with two outboard mercury engines departed Crown Haven, Abaco about 9pm on Thursday en route to Florida. The vessel was allegedly captained by a Bahamian male who is unaccounted for at this time.
According to Commander William Sturrup, Search and Rescue Coordinator, the decision to call off a search is always a difficult one and is made after careful consideration of all of the facts surrounding the case. The suspension of the search is in keeping with the probability of finding survivors without life vests in the prevailing conditions. Deepest sympathies are offered to the friends and families of those involved during this difficult time.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force strongly urges persons to refrain from dangerous voyages at sea. When embarking on a voyage, vessels are to be seaworthy, weather conditions are to be monitored and warnings adhered to and the proper safety precautions such as appropriate life vests, life rafts, firefighting equipment, as well as distress signals, flares, and EPIRBs are to be readily available on the vessel. These safeguards are to be strictly observed to when traveling by sea to mitigate such tragic loss.