US tourist ‘panicked, jumped overboard’ during boat mishap – Police

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United States tourist Thomas Carsten Jnr who reportedly drowned after the boat he was in capsized in the Essequibo River, near Apoteri Village in Region Nine, panicked and jumped overboard when the vessel began taking in water on Tuesday last.

This is according to a Police report released four days after the incident.

According to the report, Carsten Jnr, 38, another US tourist -24-year-old Jered Weiland – along with six other foreign tourists arrived in Apoteri Village on November 18.

The team travelled via a private chartered aircraft for a seven-day fishing expedition which was hosted by Mark Bolton of Kanuku Lodge Eco Resort, who is also the host for ‘Amazon River Monster’.

On Tuesday, the team left the village at about 07:00hrs with the tour guide and boat captain, Jim George, 29, of Apoteri. Apoteri is known for its arapaima fishing expeditions.

“They headed upstream in the Essequibo River in an aluminum boat measuring approximately 15 ft in length by 5 ft in width, powered by a 15 horsepower outboard engine and captained by Jim George,” the Police reported.

About 90 minutes into the journey, while going through rapids, the outboard engine encountered a mechanical problem and resulted in the boat drifting down the rapids.

This is when the boat started to take in water and Carsten Jnr reportedly panicked and jumped overboard.

“He then tried to get back into the boat but while doing so the boat ‘off balance’ and took in more water. Weiland and George then jumped into the river and managed to swim to an island that was about 7 meters away from where the boat stopped. The boat sank and Carstens went under water and did not resurface,” the Police stated.

Since Carstens, Weiland and George were due to return to the Eco Lodge Resort at 17:00 hrs on Tuesday, but didn’t show, a search party was formed.

Weiland and George were found on the island. They related what transpired to the search team and the matter was reported to the Police.

Carstens Jnr body was found two days later about 5 kilometres away from the incident area. A black camera was strapped to the body which was facing downward in the water.

The body, which was in an early stage of decomposition, was taken out of the water and transported to Annai Village.

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