Boat operators held for questioning over Aruka River collision

- children’s bodies still to be recovered

Several boat operators have been taken into custody for questioning following last Thursday’s boating accident in the Aruka River, Region One, while ranks continue their efforts to retrieve the bodies of two children feared dead as a result of the accident.

On Saturday, this publication had reported the death of the two children, Loyzal DaSilva, 9, and Daveannand James, 7, of Central Kumaka, who went missing after the boat they were travelling in along the Aruka River was hit by another boat and capsized on Thursday evening.

Based on information received, the family, comprising the two children, their parents Basil DaSilva and Ophelia James along with another sibling, was heading home around 8 pm when a speeding boat hit theirs from behind, causing it to capsize and tossing the family into the river.

Loyzal DaSilva, 9, and Daveannand James, 7, are feared to have drowned after the boat they were travelling in capsized on Thursday evening when it was hit by another speeding boat.
Loyzal DaSilva, 9, and Daveannand James, 7, are feared to have drowned after the boat they were travelling in capsized on Thursday evening when it was hit by another speeding boat.

“The boat got damaged and from what we are being told is that they were left there in the river for about an hour and a half before they were rescued,” a source from Mabaruma told Stabroek News on Friday.

While the parents of the children and the older sibling managed to swim to safety, the darkness of the night prevented them from locating Loyzal and Daveannand. It was also reported that the bodies of the children were located on Friday, however it was later learnt that this was not the case as ranks in the area continue to comb the river in hopes of locating them.

Meanwhile, DaSilva and James were taken to the Mabaruma Hospital, where DaSilva was treated for minor injuries, while James, who sustained several broken bones, was air-dashed to the city and admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Speaking from her hospital bed in the Female Surgical ward of the Georgetown Public Hospital, where she is currently nursing several injuries, including two broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and a punctured left lung, James was unable to give a full account of the collision.

She further stated that while there has been speculation about the identity of the driver who caused the accident, she could not identify said person because the place was dark.

With regard to the conditions of her husband and her other child, James related that her spouse had discharged himself from the hospital to return to Mabaruma to assist ranks in locating the children, while her other child did not sustain any injuries.

James further stated that often passengers of smaller vessels that traverse the area are left at the mercy of the larger and faster boats as some drivers tend to show little to no consideration for those in smaller boats. When asked if concerns about this were ever raised, James stated that no one is doing anything about it since she finds even Coastguards in the area operate in the same manner.

When contacted for a comment, Commander of ‘F’ Division, Assistant Superintendent Rabindranath Budhram told Stabroek News that due to the fact that no one has come forward as an eyewitness to the incident, the police are yet to locate the boat as well as the driver that allegedly caused the accident.

In the meantime, several boat drivers have been taken into custody to assist with questions regarding the accident as ranks continue their search for the two children, the Commander said.

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