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Feb 23, 2016

One Man Still Missing in New River

Two men plunged into the crocodile infested waters of New River, which runs through Orange Walk Town, on a whim on Monday evening. They would never surface again and this morning the body of twenty-one-year-old Carlos Reyes, was pulled out of the dark waters by a search team from the Belize National Coast Guard. Reyes was with a friend, yet unidentified, when they jumped into the river for a swim, despite being warned of the looming dangers.  But, death knocked at their doors. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A recovery effort by coastguard frogmen to locate and retrieve an unidentified body from the depths of the New River in Orange Walk Town is ongoing.  Divers have been submerged in this meandering waterway since morning, occasionally breaking the surface before returning to its underbelly.  The search has so far yielded the remains of twenty-one-year-old Carlos Reyes, a resident of Trial Farm Village.  He was out having drinks with a friend on Monday evening and both were driving along Riverside Street when they arrived at this area behind La Inmaculada Primary School.  Inspector Nicholas Palomo is second in command of the Orange Walk Police Formation.  He recounts a report made by Velasquez Hidalgo, the driver of the vehicle.

 

Insp. Nicholas Palomo, Deputy O.C., Orange Walk Police

Insp. Nicholas Palomo

“Carlos Reyes asked him to stop the car, as he had seen a friend sitting by the river bank.  Carlos Reyes then approached the friend and were talking for about a few minutes and Carlos Reyes and the friend got into the river.  He waited for about fifteen minutes and they did not resurface so he went to the police station and made his report.”

 

Prior to witnessing the men’s disappearance, Hidalgo himself was also about to enter the murky waters when he was dissuaded by a neighbor who lives adjacent to the empty lot.

 

Voice of: Orange Walk Resident

“Apparently there were three persons, which I didn’t know until later on, and I said, “Son, come out of the water because the crocodiles are feeding right now and they are in there now because I never saw them but I heard it.”  And I know the splash from a crocodile from a fish because I’ve lived here all my life.  I know the crocodiles, I see them.  They feed in the evening, they feed in the morning.  And he was joking and, I will just say what he said in Spanish, “Oh, yo soy crocodilo! Yo soy crocodilo! Donde esta el crocodilo?  Yo estoy no puedo nadar.”  “I’m the crocodile!  I’m the crocodile “Where is he?”

 

Presumably, the large reptile had already retreated to the bottom of the river.  It is uncertain, however, if the croc infested water played a role in their vanishing.  What is sure is that Hidalgo took no chances.  He remained on dry land.

 

Carlos Carbajal

Carlos Carbajal, Brother-in-law of Carlos Reyes

“So this guy he didn’t go in again, but my brother-in-law and the other guy they were already in the water.  So the guy that was driving the car said that he did not enter, get in the water and he waited a couple minutes, like twenty minutes he said, and after that he saw that my brother-in-law did not resurface and he came and gave a report to the police.”

 

That statement was not followed up on until this morning, when a team of divers attached to the Belize National Coast Guard was deployed into the area to commence a search and recovery operation.

 

Nicholas Palomo

“Orange Walk Police volunteers and now the Coast Guard have been searching the river and at 11:30 a.m. this morning, the twenty-third, the body of Carlos Reyes was recovered.  There were no signs of injuries on him and his body was transported to the morgue.  As you can see the coast guard is still searching for the next body whose identity we don’t know at this time.”

 

The area, according to the elderly woman, is unsafe.  Despite numerous warnings, residents insist on entering the perilous waters.  

 

Voice of: Orange Walk Resident

“People come and swim and it’s not the first time people swim here.  I always come at the corner and I say get out.  They don’t come out but some come out alive and this time two apparently died.  I don’t know if they drowned or what happened, I don’t know.  But I know that crocs don’t eat people that are dead, they don’t.  They just take you in and they drown you and leave you or maybe take you.”

 

While there were no visible injuries on Reyes’ body, police are yet to recover a second corpse.  As such, it is premature to determine an exact cause of death.

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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