The circumstances under which two American tourists vanished after boarding a jet ski in Holetown continue to puzzle longtime seafarers and visitors to the island.
Many of them are at a loss about how New Jersey residents Oscar Suarez, 32, and Magdalena Devil, 25 could have disappeared amid an abundance of activity and highly desirable beach conditions.
In fact, a British couple, who were “a couple umbrellas down” from Suarez and Devil on the day they wet missing, revealed for an extended period after the incident was reported, there was no indication an emergency situation was unfolding.
Paul Bolton of Essex in the U.K who was vacationing with his wife Louise said they had seen the missing people from time to time at the bar.
“On this particular day they were on the beach just a couple of umbrellas down from us and we didn’t really take much notice…The Coast Guard arrived at around 5’oclock and at that point they’d been missing for a couple hours but up until then, we didn’t even know there was a situation going on. We didn’t see the jet skis rushing out looking for them or anything like that. There was no kind of urgency at all,” said Paul.
The concerned vacationer added: “Their stuff was just left there on the beach. It was really surreal that they were there one minute and next minute this is how it is. Two days later they’re still not here.”
Louise revealed they had never encountered such a situation in their many years of travelling but admitted she was concerned about a lack of regulations, under which her 15-year-old son was allowed to use the small crafts.
“Every time he went out of focus I was like, ‘where is he, where is he?’” she lamented.
“I think there should be better regulations for the jet skis. I am not trying to put anybody down but that is my opinion. There need to be regulations.
“This couple didn’t seem to have anybody else looking out for them because nobody knew they’d gone on the jet ski,” she added.
Anderson Lewis who has worked in the watersport industry around Holetown for over 20 years admitted the developments were a bit “puzzling”.
“It is something that could happen from time to time for people to have accidents. But Monday was puzzling because the weather was good. I have actually seen a guy lose his life but on that occasion the weather was bad.
“The rain was falling and visibility was poor, but none of that existed on Monday. The weather was good and the water was smooth, so we find it strange,” he said.
He however said watersport operators were extremely cautious when doing business.
“When I heard about it I was a bit puzzled because I know these operators try their best to tell people what they should do and what they shouldn’t when they go on a jet ski… because they know what could happen if they go out there and don’t do what they have do,” he said, adding time was of the essence in the search.
“The longer you have to wait, quite obviously the slimmer chance of survival. Still there is hope, because as long as you haven’t heard anything yet, you always have to know that hope exists, because God always has ways of doing things and perhaps they will show up. Who knows?” he questioned.
Another seaman, Marvin Sobers, who has been working in the area for 25 years as a fisherman and glass bottom boat operator said the recent developments had given him “a bad feeling”.
“As some person who was on the beach for over 25 years, it isn’t a good feeling to see something like that happening, because it could happen to anyone,” he said.
On the day the visitors went missing, Sobers said he was out fishing not far from the beach.
“Everything looked normal and calm. I didn’t see anyone panicking or looking frantic or anything. Nothing appeared to have gone wrong.” [email protected]