Boat captain missing after hit by lightning
- was transporting children in rainstorm
A boat captain attached to the regional administration at Bartica is feared dead after he was struck by lightning while navigating the waters outside the mining community during a rainstorm yesterday afternoon.
Feared dead is Daniel Colinet, 46, of West Indian Housing Scheme, in Bartica, Cuyuni/Mazaruni.
Colinet was operating a speedboat laden with school children in vicinity of the Cuyuni River mouth around 3.30 pm yesterday, when he was struck by lightning. The man grabbed one of the children, who was burnt during the incident, and while they both fell overboard, Colinet could not be located afterward.
The child, meanwhile, managed to swim to the boat and he was pulled to safety by the others. He was subsequently taken to the Bartica Hospital for treatment. Relatives of Colinet related that the teenager, who sustained burns about his body, was being prepared to be transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH) last evening.
According to reports, the boat Miss Emma was nearing the community of Batavia when the incident occurred and reports are that after Colinet fell overboard, one of the students grabbed control of the engine and ferried the boat safely to shore as relatives and persons who were awaiting the children looked on in horror.
Colinet’s sister, Vera Colinet, told Stabroek News yesterday that her brother picked up students from various communities outside Bartica who travel to school at the mining community each school morning. She said that yesterday afternoon “as customary he left the regional admin building with some students for their homes but it was raining hard here”.
According to the woman, her brother, who had no children, left Bartica in the pouring rain and she noted that the lightning and thunder were prevalent at the time. She said that persons from the regional administration offices subsequently informed her of the incident.
The woman said that her brother had been working with the regional administration for years and while she was sure he knew how to swim, she felt that the lightning must have injured him severely. She said that his burnt life jacket was found floating in the water soon after the incident.
The woman said relatives were hoping for the best last evening, adding that the incident has resulted in one of the man’s close relatives being hospitalised at the Bartica hospital after she was told of the situation.
This newspaper understands that several boats searched the waters outside Batavia until twilight yesterday but there was no trace of Colinet. Search efforts to locate him will continue this morning.