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Drowned tourist relatives still in dark
Four days have passed, but the relatives of drowned Tobago tourist Albert Dietschi are still unaware of his death. Dietschi, 85, who was staying at the Footprints Eco Resort and Spa in Tobago, drowned while kayaking on Sunday. Resort manager Umar Ali said Dietschi took a kayak from the resort without permission and went into the sea despite being warned of the dangerous waves.
The Swiss and United States embassies have been alerted but are yet to make contact with Dietschi’s family. Ali said Dietschi checked in last week Tuesday but did not give contact information for any of his relatives. “Usually it is up to the guest to leave a forwarding contact. “The kayak was by the jetty and he took it without permission and drowned,” Ali said. He added that the resort staff contacted the embassies.
Swiss consul general Michele Khan was not in office for a second day yesterday but an official from the embassy said they would deliver a message to her. Meanwhile, Legena Henry, who has an MSc in ocean engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is a PhD candidate in non-linear wave behaviour at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, said wave activity would continue over the next few days.
She explained the monster waves, which the Meteorological Office and the Office of Disaster Preparedness predicted, occurred in the deep ocean. She said while the ocean was extremely choppy, the waves were not necessarily as high. Despite the bulletin, the Tobago ferry’s schedule continued as usual with six sailings a day.
Fishermen, however, continued to stay off the sea. President of the Toco Fishing Association Ken Morris said more than 200 fishermen had abandoned their expeditions. He said the prevalence of these waves, which had damaged boats in the past, made it necessary for Government to review the problem.
“We are recommending a breakwater harbour that we can shelter behind. Our concerns are that there is no place for us to shelter in the event of any kind of storm,” Morris added. He said a ministerial team, headed by Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie, is expected to meet with Toco fisherfolk next week.
Councillor for Toco Fishing Pond Terry Rondon said fishermen were still feeling the brunt of the waves. He called on Government to set up a fisherman’s fund which could sustain fishermen in the event of storms and bad weather. “The families of the fishermen are suffering because since Wednesday nobody is going out to fish,” Rondon said. He added that would have a negative effect on the price of fish.
President of the Claxton Bay Fishing Co-operative Kishore Boodram said yesterday fish prices may spike because of the bad weather. Marine Affairs Minister Devant Maharaj said discussions were ongoing on building a harbour for the fishermen in Matelot.
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