Kumaka woman feared dead after boat strikes branch in Barima River

A woman is missing and several persons have been hospitalized after the boat they were travelling in on the Barima River in the North West District (NWD),  collided with a floating branch
yesterday.

Police last evening in a press release identified the missing woman as Shevone Anthony, age 19. Stabroek News understands that she is from Kumaka, NWD.

The release said that “at about 1530 hours (yesterday) a boat ferrying passengers from Port Kaituma to Mabaruma struck a log in the river causing passenger Shevonne Anthony, 19 years, to fall overboard. She is believed to have drowned”.

Stabroek News was unable to contact Transport Minister Robeson Benn and MARAD Director Claudette Rogers for further details.

A Port Kaituma boat captain said that he knew the captain of the ill-fated vessel as `Breeze out’ who hails from the Kaituma River. He said that the man was injured during the incident and is a patient of the Mabaruma Hospital while his brother, Roy (only name given), who usually assists him with the boat, and three females are hospitalized at the Port Kaituma Hospital. The man said that Roy sustained a broken hand while the females had varying injuries. He said that no one was allowed to go and see the injured.

The man said that it is unclear what really happened. He said that floating pieces of wood are a regular occurrence in the rivers of the North West. He said that especially during rainy weather, pieces of trees would fall into the river.

He opined that a piece of wood which had dislodged from a tree was under the water and was hidden from `Breeze out’s’ view. The man said that the captain would have lost control of his vessel. Based on what the man said, the boat is still lodged in the thick vegetation at the side of the river where it came to rest after hitting the wood. Following the collision the passengers would have fallen into the river.

The resident said that based on what he knows, this vessel was never involved in a boating accident before. He said that when transporting persons on the water top after dark he is always afraid because one does not also see the floating wood. He said that he always proceeds with caution while on the water top.

Over the last year or so, around two dozen people have died in riverain accidents.

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