Cousin of drowned Moruca farmer injured in boat crash en route to funeral

One person was seriously injured yesterday when a boat taking mourners to the funeral of Ravin Piper, who drowned last week, hit a submerged log in the Pomeroon River, then crashed into a tree on the bank of the river.

As a result, 24-year-old Delroy Henry of Father’s Beach, Moruca, Region One sustained head injuries and after being taken to the Oscar Joseph District Hospital for emergency treatment, was rushed to Suddie Public Hospital.

A distraught Troy Piper

Henry along with his cousin, 21-year-old Troy Piper and his uncle 61-year-old George Vansluytman were in the vessel, which was powered by a 75-horse power outboard engine, heading to the Lower Pomeroon River to pick up passengers to take to Charity when the incident occurred. They were going to attend the funeral of Ravin Piper, who died in a river accident about seven days ago in the Moruca River.

Troy Piper, who was the captain of the boat at the time, is the brother of Ravin Piper.

Speaking with Stabroek News at the Oscar Joseph District Hospital, Troy Piper said he was in the vicinity of Grant Trial Lower Pomeroon River, when he felt the boat hit the submerged object causing him to lose control. The boat then crashed into a tree at the corner of the river.

“Today is my brother funeral and so I was going to bring more people up to Charity for the funeral when we hit the wood then we run up in the bush,” he said. “Delroy head hit on the tree root and he start bleeding. One of my uncles, who was in another boat, come and rescue us and we hurry and bring he up to Charity because he was bleeding bad.”

Members of the Coastguard stationed at the Pomeroon River mouth were alerted and went to the scene to assist. Since Vansluytman sustained no injuries, he was taken to the Pomeroon River mouth by the Coastguard where relatives collected him to take him to his home in Moruca.

Delroy Henry being placed in the ambulance for transfer to Suddie Hospital

Genie Vansluytman, Chairperson of the Father’s Beach Council in Moruca and sister of George Vansluytman said the accident could have been avoided if the Pomeroon River had been cleaned.

“While I was coming up to Charity after hearing about the accident, the boat which I was in hit two coconut husks but thankfully, nothing serious happened. In the case of the others, they hit a submerged wood which caused Troy to lose control and then crash into a tree and now Delroy is injured. As a Chairperson of a riverain area, I would like to see the relevant authorities take up responsibility and clean the river. It would be beneficial to us all,” she said.

Delroy Henry, who migrated to Georgetown where he works as a fisherman, had only travelled to Essequibo yesterday to attend his cousin’s funeral. Up to late yesterday afternoon his condition was listed as stable.

Meanwhile, the search continues for the body of missing farmer George Piper, 41.

George and his son Ravin were reportedly tossed out of their vessel at the mouth of the Moruca River, North West District about 10 pm on July 14.

“Relatives and family members are still looking for his body. We searched all week long and yesterday [Wednesday] we found the engine that was in the boat [that Piper was in]… but there is still no sign of the body,” a relative said. “We did not search today [Thursday] because of the funeral of Ravin.”

Family members and residents plan to continue the search today. Where the accident occurred, the current is often very strong so some are suggesting that the body may have been swept out to sea. However, they are still hoping to locate the body so that some sort of closure can be had.

Investigations are ongoing.

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