Tours continue, new safety measures on course at Orinduik Falls


Tour guides are on course to increase safety measures for future tours to the country’s famed Orinduik Falls, just days after Gladstone Haynes, a 43-year-old New York Police Department (NYPD) veteran officer drowned at the site.

Malcom Rhodius, the owner of the 592 Tours, told the News Room on Wednesday that tours are still on schedule to the falls with plans to increase safety measures. It must be noted that the incident did not occur during a tour by the business.

He said since the incident, persons have not cancelled or displayed fear of taking the trip. “So far no one has opted out. People haven’t expressed any thing of being scared or anything of that sort,” Rhodius said.

However, he explained that there are times when the tours are more centered for the more safe and restricted Kaieteur falls.

“Generally, we have different seasons where we will have more Kaieteur over Orinduik tours. That’s because of the types of travelers coming that time. For right now, our latest trend is we have had a lot of solo travel. They would take the Kaieteur only,” he explained.

Importantly, Rhodius said since the incident, the consideration of lifebouys being used while on tour is being discussed.

Owner and Tour guide at 592 Tours, Malcom Rhodius

He also said there were never instances of injuries or similar incidents.

“We are continuously looking at ways to improve. One of the new things we will be implementing on our Kaieteur/Orinduik tours soon, we’ll have the round floats that you find on ships,” he said.

In the meantime, Rhodius noted that tour guides are well trained and there are many measures taken to ensure there is safety on these tours.

He explained that from the initial booking, persons are clearly informed of these measures and advised on clothing, foot wear and the travel itself. Throughout the course of the tour persons are also reminded of the safety measures.

The Tour Guide also pointed out that the himself and colleagues usually enquire of persons’ swimming capabilities.

The guides monitor the team throughout the trip and persons are warned not to go beyond the area considered safe for swimming; exploring the water is not advised when the water level is high.

“Swimming can only be done when water is really low,” he noted.

Rhodius said persons are advised on areas that are safe for walking and he noted that rocks there often get covered with moss but the tour guides can differentiate between the types of moss that are slippery and the types that are not.

The local police reported that Haynes, a technician of Alexander Village in Georgetown but according to The New York Post, Haynes was vacationing in Guyana. Police said Haynes and his wife 34-year-old US citizen Vanessa Alicia Vassell were on a tour at Orinduik Falls. The couple was celebrating Vassell’s birthday when tragedy struck on October 30.

According to the police Gladstone was swimming below the Orinduik Falls when he went under and disappeared. His body was recovered early on Wednesday at about 06:30hrs. His body was recovered on November 2, at about 06:30hrs.


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