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HomeNewsLocal NewsNevis Premier addresses the details surrounding death of Jessups resident

Nevis Premier addresses the details surrounding death of Jessups resident

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley, during his April 25 press conference, extended condolences to the family of Ishmael Hanley, who passed as a result of an incident involving a boat.

“Let me also extend condolences to the family of Mr Ishmael Hanley. While I was abroad, having travelled recently, I got the very tragic news that Mr. Hanley apparently was struck by a boat while he was out diving, and as a consequence, he lost his life. This is the second incident in the last five or six years where we had a boat strike a swimmer in the ocean, and that swimmer would have passed, and so we’ve had two fatalities in the last several years from boating accidents. I want to, of course, extend condolences to the family Mr. Hanley, but I also want to take this opportunity to appeal to our boat operators that they absolutely have to exercise all necessary care. We recognise that the water taxi business is growing and that many of our people are using the water taxis now to go back and forth during the daytime and indeed at nights. But I am encouraging the water taxi operators with captains of these boats, the owners, that they train and retrain and continue to insist that safety at sea is absolutely critical.”

On April 19, 58-year-old Ishmael Hanley, a Jessups Village resident, succumbed to injuries inflicted by the propeller of a passing boat.

Law enforcement indicated that at 1:45 p.m. on April 19, a boat bearing the name’Point Proven’ belonging to the company, Islander Water Sports, was near the Nevis coast and travelling towards the Four Seasons Resort on Nevis with two crew members, seven guests and the captain.

Five minutes offshore Nevis, or about half a mile offshore, the boat captain reported that he felt the impact of something under the boat, and after checking, he saw a man, Hanley, in the water, waving for assistance.

The captain helped Hanley onto the boat and transported him to Charlestown Pier to be taken to the Alexandra Hospital.

Hanley succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital and was pronounced dead on arrival.

The Premier said this is the second incident in the past two years and appealed to the general public, especially the owners and operators of the water taxis, to exercise extra caution when sailing the waters.

“These accidents, having had two in the past several years, are two too many. I also, of course, in fairness, want to also urge those who are out in the ocean swimming, diving, find themselves in their water that they, too, must exercise some care and attention. I have had reports of recklessness on all sides, and so I am hopeful that our people can conduct themselves sensibly. And if we know that this is the usual lanes in which our taxes are traversing, then if we must go into those lanes to drive, then we should have some kind of marker or something to indicate that we’re there.”

The Premier shared an instance from his experience where he witnessed a situation that could have led to a similar end as with Hanley,

“I want to comment on a particular matter because I recall being in a water taxi one day, and the boat was stopped suddenly by the captain, and I and the others on the board were alarmed as to what and there in the water was a diver. Luckily the captain saw the diver and so stopped. And I thought it was odd because the boat from which the diver had disembarked was some considerable distance away. And then I learned that apparently sometimes when the guys go to dive, they might be on a boat, but as they go overboard into the water and the boat drifts off or the current state them so that if you’re looking to where the boat is as an indication of where the divers might be, that is not necessarily accurate. The divers might be some considerable distance away from the boat. And this is what happened in this scenario. I can say to the public that I’m at NASPA to quickly convene with the maritime affairs division to determine what we can do to ensure that there are no further occurrences of these instances.”

Another boating incident could have happened a day after the death of Hanley, where the Paradise Beach area and Brantley said the owners of the resort have complained about the irresponsible behaviours of jet ski and speed boat operators in the area near the shore.

“While I am on this topic, let me also – because it is ironic that just I believe it was a day after this tragedy that I was sent a video where there was a boat speeding along the coast parallel to the coast and almost into shore in the Paradise Beach area. The owners of Paradise Beach and others have said that they complain bitterly all the time to say to the jetski operators, to say to the speedboat operators do not come into shore or close to shore; that’s where you have people are swimming. That’s where you’re most likely to have people swimming. Stay out to sea with your motorised vessels. And still, they are almost on the shore as they speed along parallel to the shore. I have seen fishermen, local fishermen, doing it. I have seen jetski operators doing it. We have seen the pleasure boats, and pleasure crafts doing it. And I don’t understand why.”

Brantley concluded his statement on the passing of Hanley by reiterating his appeal for sensible actions from both boat operators and swimmers/divers alike.

“Let us be sensible; that’s a word I can come up with in terms of how we conduct ourselves. We’re endangering people. If you happen to be on the beach and you’re taking a swim, you ought not to be at risk of being struck by a jetski or by a boa… which happens to be right into shore. I don’t know why they are right into shore. Are they looking fans on the beach? They want people on the beach to see them that they in a boat. Boats are meant to be at sea, well, stay out to sea. And so on all sides of this, we have had difficulty, and I’m using this rostrum because here we have had two fatalities in the last several years. I don’t want anyone else to get hurt. I don’t want anyone else to die. And I feel that if we only conduct ourselves sensibly… if you are going out to dive, you must have some kind of marker to demonstrate and allow those who are on the surface to know that somebody’s under the surface. If you are a fisherman, you have no need to have your capture or wherever you’re going to be speeding, along parallel to the coast right inside where swimmers are likely to be. We have had as a government to invest large sums of money to put up swim zones. We now need to go and revisit that again to try and put up additional stream zones around the island. But things are in my view, common sense and respect for each other, being sensible in our dealings could result. So I use this rostrum as I tend to at some time to just appeal to our people to do what is right and to extend again condolences to Ishmael Hanley’s Family” – Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley.

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