Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Young Belize Coast Guard officer, Kiman Garcia, loses life in boating accident

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On Wednesday, November 8th, a member of the Belize Coast Guard (BCG), identified as Kiman Garcia, 24, lost his life in a boating accident off the northern coast of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye. The young BCG sailor was thrown overboard and severely injured by the boat’s engine propeller. Even though he was rushed to the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II, Garcia succumbed to his injuries.

Kiman Garcia

BCG Commandant Admiral Elton Bennett said that around 3PM, Garcia and other BCG officers were heading to San Pedro Town from the area of Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve in northern Ambergris Caye after completing three weeks of operational duty. According to Bennett, the vessel hit a submerged object (yet to be identified), causing the boat captain to lose control and throw offers overboard. One sustained minor injuries, but Garcia suffered fatal head injuries caused by the engine’s propellers.

General area picture of Bacalar Chico

The BCG has since launched an investigation into the boating accident along with the Belize Police Department and the Belize Port Authority. “The investigation will determine if there was any breach of safety related to navigation, human error, that may have resulted in the loss of life,” said Bennett. The BCG Commander added that they will also consider any recommendations to improve their operations.
Bennett described Garcia as a dedicated young member of the BCG. He said he never received any complaints about Garcia and was instead commended by his colleagues and senior officers. Bennett added that the young man was also energetic and loved his job. The head of the BCG explained that each of their members is entitled to what is known as ‘death in harness’ benefits to their next of kin for dying while on duty. The government provides this benefit.
This is the first fatal incident involving a member of the BCG since the marital security agency was founded in November 2005.

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