NASSAU – Seven people had to be rescued from waters off Eleuthera yesterday after being swept off the Glass Window Bridge by severe sea swells.
The incident came after several other life-threatening circumstances were reported at or near the bridge this week.
According to chief superintendent
Stephen Adderley, officer in-charge of the Eleuthera Division, the incident occurred shortly after 8 a.m., when island officials announced the temporary suspension of a government sponsored ferry service due to sea conditions.
Adderley said the group elected to crossed the bridge by foot despite several warnings, resulting in yesterday’s incident.
All seven people were recovered from waters to the west of the bridge and transported to a clinic in Lower Bogue, Eleuthera.
Adderley told The Tribune: “As you are aware, it’s been announced that there (are) some issues at the bridge. The persons involved in (yesterday’s) incident opted to go against the word of those in authority.
“They were attempting to cross from the southern end of the bridge to the northern end. It was determined that no person should cross; whether by boat, car or on foot. We halted passage all together.
“This group of persons managed to get on to the bridge and shortly through their passage, there was a massive wave that was strong enough to knock them over into waters on the Caribbean side of the bridge.
“Thankfully persons were near the bridge around this time to aid in their recovery. We have said and will continue to say to persons, now is not the time to sightsee and take pictures. This is dangerous. The bridge is closed. Stay away.”
In the wake of the severe sea swells, residents, in conjunction with government officials, organized a ferry service that transported residents from Gregory Town Dock to the Glass Window Bar and Grill, a restaurant just south of the bridge, at a cost $10 one-way or $20 round-trip.
This is the ferry service referenced by Adderley.
The service is being operated as a part of island’s ongoing ferry schedule.
The Glass Window Bridge has not been officially reopened since Sunday, when it had to be closed due to large and dangerous swells.
That same day, four people were injured as they attempted to climb rocks on the side of the bridge.
Then on Monday, police said they were searching for a 19-year-old American man who was reportedly swept out to sea at Queen’s Bath, near the bridge. The teen, Johnathan Brusso of Michigan, was still missing yesterday. Police said his father is on the island as officials continue their search.
The bridge is considered a vital commercial link between the northern and southern parts of Eleuthera.
Works minister Desmond Bannister earlier this week announced the government is considering the construction of a new $30m bridge to replace the current pathway.
Bannister said while officials are open to evaluating the bridge to determine its structural soundness, plans for a new bridge can no longer be delayed.
“We need to budget this year to construct a real bridge,” he said.
“But the reality is, the long-term solution is we are building a new bridge what could cost in the region of $30 million to $40 million.”