Published 9th November 2016, 3:49pm
What started out as just an opportunity to test their new rescue launch boat, quickly turned into a rescue mission for three fire officers with the Cayman Islands Fire Service.
On Wednesday, 2 November 2016 Acting Sub Officer Wayne Whitelocke (captain), Acting Sub Officer Carson McField and Leading Fire Officer Duronnie Myles had been at sea for less than an hour when a person on another boat flagged the crew down to inform them that a group of passengers were stranded on a boat at the sand bar in North Sound.
“The RFFS immediately responded towards the vessel which was anchored near the Stingray City,” Mr. Whitelocke said.
He explained the boat had developed an engine problem with its impeller, while carrying tourists, including elderly persons, on board as passengers, and all were sick due to rough seas.
The three fire officers took the 10 passengers to shore at the George Town Yacht Club, where they were met by the EMS crew and ambulances to assist the sick passengers.
Mr. Whitelocke said the group was later taken to George Town Hospital by EMS personnel.
“As experienced fire officers, whenever reporting for duty, there is a mindset of any and everything happening,” he explained. “The situation at the sand bar was very choppy and some of the passengers were vomiting and feeling nauseated. It was quite a challenge to dock near the boat for the passengers to offload.”
Chief Fire Officer David Hails said he was happy to see the new launch immediately put to good use.
“We’ve had a similar situation like this before,” he said. “In late August when we got our new thermal imaging cameras, they were put on the vehicles and within an hour the cameras were in use at a fire and played a crucial part in firefighting operations.”
Chief Hails said enhanced firefighting capabilities throughout the Islands, by land and sea, are now possible following recent purchases like the thermal imaging cameras and the new rescue launch boat.
“Firefighters regularly face dangerous situations to keep our communities safe,” he explained. “It’s important to provide them with such crucial rescue equipment, so when duty calls we not only know how to react but we have the tools to get the job done.”