Port Authority concludes investigation of boat accident

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

In Vol. 21, #37 of The San Pedro Sun, we reported on a very serious boat accident which occurred on September 16th. Dana Leonard and John “Rob” Leonard, honeymooners on the island, were reportedly snorkeling in the area in front of their hotel south of San Pedro when a Water Taxi reportedly severed Rob’s leg from the knee down and caused some cut wounds to Dana.

As a result of the incident, initial response by the Belize Port Authority was to detain the 38ft MV MY and suspend the Boat Master’s License. Almost three weeks later, the Belize Port Authority has released their findings on the incident in a Press Release dated October 4, 2011.

The release stated, “The Belize Port Authority has concluded its investigation into the boating accident in which two snorkelers were injured. On Friday September 16, 2011 at around 1215hrs, Rob Leonard, 31, was snorkelling with his wife Dana Leonard, both U.S. citizens, when they were run over by a 38-ft. water taxi, MV My, which was captained by Anthony Everett, a licensed Boat Master. The incident occurred at the south end of San Pedro approximately 400-500 feet from the Caribe Island Resort pier. Mr. Leonard’s leg was severed by one of the boat’s propellers and his wife was slightly injured. The snorkelers were inadvertently swimming in an area where vessels navigate and the choppy seas at the time of the incident reduced visibility.”

The release went on to inform that the Belize Port Authority, Belize Tourism Board and San Pedro Town Council are discussing measures to improve safety and ways to prevent future accidents. It further advised snorkelers and divers to be aware of their surroundings and to be vigilant in areas where obvious dangers exist and that the boating community exercise caution at all times, particularly when approaching populated areas and tourist resorts.

Reports are that the vessel has been operating as per usual and that the Boat Captain is in the process of re-acquiring his Master’s License. According to Major John Flowers, Commissioner of Belize Port Authority, necessary legal action has been taken against the Captain of the vessel, in respect to the incident. He further informed that a meeting will be held in San Pedro on Friday October 7th where representatives from Belize Port Authority, BTB and the San Pedro Town Council will discuss the matter further as well as steps to be taken to avoid such an incident from occurring in the future.

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