By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
TRAGEDY struck Andros Tuesday morning when a 53-year-old man was killed in a fishing boat explosion off Morgan’s Bluff.
Cyril Gaitor of Mastic Point, who is described as a well known resident on the island, was one of five men on board the vessel when the incident happened.
According to Superintendent Ricardo Richardson, officer-in-charge on the island, police responded to a call from an unknown source around 10am.
“We have lost one local fisherman,” Supt Richardson said. “We received the call this morning (Tuesday) and when we got there the fire had completely destroyed the boat.
“There were five on board. They jumped off the boat, but only four survived. Mr Gaitor was not one of the survivors. Local persons searched waters for him. He was later retrieved and brought to shore, but he died.
“He was a well known person here on the island.”
He said Gaitor’s family gathered on the beach and were present when he was brought to shore.
Police in the capital released a further report on the incident.
“Preliminary reports are that shortly after 10am today (Tuesday), five men from Andros were on a fishing trip some three miles off Morgan's Bluff, when their boat caught afire and an explosion occurred.
“The five men all jumped overboard for safety. A short while later one of the men was found unconscious submerged in the water.
“The man was taken to shore where he was pronounced dead by the island’s local doctor. Investigations are ongoing.”
This fatal incident comes about five months after a 4C’s tour boat exploded in Exuma killing one American woman – Maleka Jackson. Among the 10 other people on board and injured were Tiran Jackson - Mrs Jackson’s husband who lost a leg, and Stefanie Schaffer, a 22-year-old woman from Vermont who had both of her legs amputated.
Two people have since been charged with manslaughter by negligence and causing negligent harm in connection with the incident.
Last month, Transport and Local Government Minister Renward Wells said steps had been taken to clamp down on the sector with instructions to the Port Department to have every ship and boat owner come in for inspection.
It is unclear how closely related both incidents are as one affected a fishing vessel and the other a tour boat. It is unclear what caused Tuesday's incident.