Guyana February 1st 2012
IRI 02/01/12 Boat Accident on the Maruca River in the part call the “Ninety Nine” consider very dangerous part of the trip because of the sharp terns and poor visibility.
IRI 02/01/12 Company Boat Accident Report
04:45 AM – Phil F., Fenton P. and Gil P. left IRI GT office using company pickup loaded with 500lb of gear and supply.
05:30 AM – We reached Parika and meet with Ben, Parika boat operator.
05:40 AM – Phil F. and Gil P. left Parika on a charter boat operated by Ben heading to Supenaam.
06:30 AM – We reached Supenaam and boarded Joel minibus.
07:35 AM – Arrived Charity, Meet with Gill S. (IRI boat operator), Purchase food and water for the trip, and loaded and secured the gear and supply on to the boat.
08:00 AM – Left Charity heading to Mafia Landing on the Barama River for Ianna Camp.
09:35 AM – We passed by the Moruca Bridge, water and weather condition were perfect.
From this point the timeline is estimation! (Margin of error, 5 to 15 minute)
10:00 AM – We were driving on the Moruca River in the part call the Ninety Nine (consider very dangerous part of the trip because of the sharp terns and poor visibility).
10:10 AM – In one of the sharp terns we collide with a boat coming from the opposite direction (from Kituma to Charity), (see attach drawing).
10:20 AM – After assessing Phil injuries and making sure it is safe to move him, we move him to the boat that collide with us and we rushed back to Moruca.
10:35 AM – Halfway to Moruca, when I gut cell phone reception, I call GT Office and request Nalini to do the following: Call Moruca Hospital to send to the landing and or prepare, Oxygen, Transportation and Stretcher for one injure person. I also instruct her to get a Chopper or any Airplane she can get to fly to Moruca (Bemichi Air Strip) immediately.
10:55 AM – We arrive to the Moruca Bridge Landing, Henry, a pickup owner we used previously and know well was waiting at the landing, six people help to transfer Phil from the boat to the back of the pickup, lay down on a makeshift stretcher.
11:10 – We reached Moruca Hospital, the hospital staff transfer Phil to hospital stretcher, got him to a bed and start stabilizing his condition. Phil received Oxygen, IV, we change his wet cloth and the nurses stitch the dip cut he gut on his right hand and finger. All that time, I was in and out of the room communicating with the office. At that time I instruct Nalini to get a private ambulance to wait for us at Ogel and to contact the best private hospital emergency room and notify them on our ETA and person condition.
11:35 AM – Nalini inform me that an AS 206 will takeoff from Port Kituma (with another injure person) and will arrive to Moruca (Bemichi Air Strip) in approximately 25 minutes. The plane landed at 12:05 PM.
12:20 PM – We transport Phil from the hospital room to Henry pickup and start a slow drive to the Air Strip.
12:35 PM – We transfer Phil from the pickup to the airplane and secure him in.
12:45 PM – We takeoff from Moruca, heading to Ogel Airport in GT.
13:30 PM – We landed at Ogel; we meet with Nalini, Ambulance and two EMT personal. We quickly transfer Phil to the ambulance and he was transported to Balwant Singh’s Hospital Inc.
13:45 PM – Phil was at the emergency room and team consisted of Dr. Ramesh and several nurses start to take care of him.
16:00 PM – After having an X-ray and CT done, and going through tub inserting procedure (do to internal bleeding) he was admitted to the ICU for observation and recovery.
Testimony of People Involve:
Gill Shawayne (company boat operator) testimony:
I Shawayne Gill (Boat Operator) employed by Ianna Resources Inc. left Charity on the 1st January, 2012 at 8:00am with monthly supplies and two passengers, Gil Peretz and Phil Fillis heading for Ianna Camp.
On our way on the Mourca River coming out of Bara -Bara (ninety nine turn) (fourth turn going to Mourca), we encountered a Port Kaituma boat, coming in the opposite direction. The captain of the Port Kaituma boat, turned around to see the other boat that was coming behind him and did not realize that I was coming in front of him around the turn. Upon realizing what was happening the Port Kaituma boat did not had enough time to turn away from hitting me and even though I slow down to avoid any crash because I saw the boat coming in front of me there was no other direction that I could have divert into.
The Port Kaituma boat did not have enough time to settle in the water so it slid into our boat and hit Phil in the chest.
The Port Kaituma captain and I assisted Gil Peretz with putting Phil into the said boat to take him to the Mourca hospital and I proceeded with the monthly supplies to Ianna Camp.
Barry Fraser (boat involve operator) testimony:
I Barry Fraser (Boat Operator operating Speed Boat via Charity/Port Kaituma) was on my way from Port Kaituma on 1st January, 2012 when in the Bara –Bara turn (ninety nine turn) (fourth turn going to Mourca) I encounter Shawayne Gill (Ianna Resources boat), coming in the opposite direction.
I turned around to see the other boat that was coming behind me from Port Kaituma and when I turn around back, I did not realize that the company boat was already in front of me. Even though I slow down the boat was still travelling because it was light and I could not have done anything so the two boats collide together.
I went back and render assistance to the injured people and assist in taking them to the Mourca hospital and wait until the flight come and pick them up and then proceed on my journey to charity.
Phil Fillis testimony:
Trip to Morucas is as described by Gil.
Clear weather, perfect conditions. After Moruca, we entered the 99 bends in the river. I think I was the first to see the other boat. It seemed to me that Gil did not react immediately, and when he did he turned to the right bank from mid channel. It also seemed to be that the other driver failed to take immediate action and turned left into our bank. By now we were broadside to the bigger boat and collision was inevitable. I dimly recall seeing the port side at the front of the big boat close up, but I don't recall exactly what I hit, or what hit me. I only recall a searing pain in my back and being scrunched up. On the recovery boat back to Moruca I had great difficulty breathing. I have no idea how I gashed my hand.
Gil Peretz (IRI GM) testimony:
Due to lack of sleep the night before the trip and my trust in Gills safety and driving ability’s, I was dozing off and on during the trip. I remember jumping to alert condition when I heard Gill and Phil screams. At that point I got bang in my head (from the front end of the boat we collide with) and I was knocked to the side of the boat. After few second when things came down I asked Gil if he is OK, after Gil confirms he is ok, I attend to Phil that was screaming: "MY BACK, MY BACK". The rest of my action after the accident describe above.
The company boat is approximately 19ft long with a Yamaha 75hp. With the supply, gear and fuel we carried, the boat was heavy to its limit.
Barry’s boat (who collides with us) is approximately 23ft with a Yamaha 200hp. Barry’s boat was very light, with only 4 passengers and no cargo.
When a boat is in either condition (too heavy or too light) they can’t go fast at the Ninety Nine segment of the river, if they will, they will end up on the bank.
My Professional Opinion:
My opinion is based on my experience as an NYPD A/Police officer in the rank of a A/LT, My last six month trips up and down on the same route (probably more than 20 time) and most important, my personal knowledge of Barry and Gill capabilities as a speedboat operators. I was completely alert when we enter the Ninety Nine segment of the trip, only after several turns, when I saw that Gill take the turns with cautious, I allow myself to doze off.
To my opinion, this was an accident with no one negligent! None of the boats was excessively speeding and we were lucky we had the accident with Barry. With any other boat / captain with less experience this accident would have catastrophic outcome.
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