Two seriously injured in boat accident

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Two US Nationals were injured whilst snorkeling on the south end of Ambergris Caye. At about 12:30pm on Friday, September 16, 2011, The San Pedro Sun received word that there were two injured individuals at the Caye Caulker Water Taxi (CCWT) terminal. Further investigation revealed that the CCWT boat captain noticed two people signaling for help in the water. The CCWT boat that was heading toward the island saw the injured people and stopped to offer assistance. They noticed that the male victim was bleeding profusely and had lost his right leg. His companion was also injured.

Both were quickly transported to the CCWT terminal where they were transferred into a waiting taxi using lounge chairs. They were quickly driven off to the San Pedro PolyClinic II for medical attention.

Eye witness, Mr. Wolfgang Wade informed The Sun that the two individuals were snorkeling in front of the dock at the hotel they were staying at. Wade explained that he saw a San Pedro Belize Express vessel drive by approximately 50 feet away from the dock and ran over the snorkelers. In his opinion, Mr. Wade stated that he believed the boat was extremely close to the dock and that ordinarily, vessels travel much further out at sea. He further stated that the vessel that caused the accident eventually returned, but by that time, the injured tourists had already been taken aboard the Caye Caulker Water Taxi boat. The San Pedro Sun is awaiting word from the San Pedro Police Department regarding the events that transpired on the water.

The victims were later discovered to be honeymooners, 31-year-old Rob Leonard and 32-year-old Dana Leonard of Virginia, USA. The couple was reportedly on their last day of honeymoon in the country. According to Doctor Javier Zuniga, attending doctor at the San Pedro PolyClinic II, Mr. Leonard sustained a serious injury to his right lower leg, with an amputation at the knee level. He also sustained lacerations to his right wrist. His wife, Dana sustained superficial injuries to her right wrist as well. As per the possibility of salvaging Mr. Leonard’s leg, Dr. Zuniga informed that unfortunately, that will not be possible. Dr. Zuniga also stated that the application of a tourniquet to the injury sustained by Rob Leonard is quite possibly what saved his life. Leonard lost massive amounts of blood, but was stabilized before being flown out to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further treatment. His wife Dana was stabilized and also flown for further treatment.

The captain of the San Pedro Belize Express vessel, Mr. Anthony Ortiz, is currently under investigation. The San Pedro Sun will follow up on this story.

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