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Jan 5, 2023

Search Continues for Luke Hansen, the Minor Who Drowned in Roaring Creek

Luke Hansen

As early as six a.m. today, relatives and friends, as well as members of the Belize Coast Guard, were out along the Roaring Creek River diving and scouring the area for the body of eight-year-old Luke Hansen who drowned in that vicinity on Wednesday afternoon. Hansen was swimming along with his brother and a friend while his grandfather stood watch on the bank. At some point, the trio was being pulled away by the current and a villager jumped into the nearby river. He was able to save two boys and later realised that a third had been swept under water and did not resurface. Today, a News Five team was out in the area as the search continued. Up to news time, the body of Hansen has still not been recovered. Duane Moody files this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

It’s an emotional time for the family of eight-year-old Luke Hansen, who drowned near the Hammock Bridge in Roaring Creek on Tuesday. Hansen, his brother and their cousin were taken to the creek to swim by their grandfather, Arturo Tillett when the fun outing turned tragic.


Arturo Tillett

Arturo Tillett, Grandfather of Deceased

“Yesterday, I deh home and dehn di bug me and bug me and I tell dehn I noh want go dah river cause something bad happen dah river. Dehn say ker we dah river. I tell dehn I noh want go. I watch dehn good and dehn di swim ina di lee shoulder. Me and my friend, we were sitting on the bank. I was chilling and thing and the little boy tell me, “Uncle I could go cross?” I tell ahn no cause across deh deep; noh go over dehn. The next big boy still ker the next two boy and I say noh go over deh cause over deh deep – unu wah put me ina problem. So I sit down and when I look, the young lady hail mi and tell me bossy, the lee bwai di drowned.”


Tillett, we are told, was left in shock and it was Saturino Coc that jumped into the creek to save the boys who were in distress. He managed to rescue two of them – Hansen’s older brother who is ten years old and his nine-year-old cousin. It wasn’t until after the rescue that he was notified that there was a third minor who was carried away by the current.  Coc recounts what happened.


Saturino Coc

Saturino Coc, First Responder

“I only see two lee young bwai di go up and down and I tell one ah fi he family dehn that ih look like di two lee young bwai di drowned over yonder. So I end up di jump from weh part I mi deh and I jump ina di water and save the two ah deh. So when I save di two ah dehn, I neva notice the next lee one mi done gone before everybody, the next lee one weh mi deh deh. I neva notice cause I only mi see two ah dehn. I only mi see two ah di lee young bwai dehn mi deh up and down, so I neva notice dah mi three ah dehn. But the next young bwai tell me that a next lee one supposed to deh ina di water and by the time I gone fi go down deh back, I neva coulda mi reach di young bwai. I neva see no sign of he.”


Today, relatives and friends were in canoes and along the river assisting in the search for Luke. The Belize Coast Guard has been out since Tuesday carrying out dives within the area all the way to Banana Bank.


Tyrone Edwards

Chief Petty Officer Tyrone Edwards, 2IC Diving, Belize Coast Guard

“We came to do a recce to see exactly what we would need and then we came early this morning and launched our vessel and got the divers ready. And we came and started along with BSART and some of the family members who were willing to assist us as well and that’s when we started with the search and recovery for the boy. It has passed over twenty-four hours, the body won’t be exactly where it drowned; it is a small person and it will move faster than a big adult in the river. So we expect the body to be more downstream and that’s where our focus is. Earlier this morning, we had the BSART divers diving from Banana Bank coming up and we going from here going down to meet them, however, we came up with nothing. But our mission is to stop until the body is found.”


Chief Petty Officer Tyrone Edwards, of the Belize Coast Guard, explains what the days ahead are going to look like and the expectations for the recovery of Luke’s body.


Chief Petty Officer Tyrone Edwards

“This afternoon, we are focused on some persons diving in the middle and persons combing the river banks as far as we can go before it gets dark and them tomorrow morning, we will be back again if anything should happen.”


Duane Moody

“Normally in cases like these, how long does it take before the body surfaces?”


Chief Petty Officer Tyrone Edwards

“Well because of the temperature of the river, the river is cool, the water is very cold so it will take the usual three days. But when the water is warm it would take two days, two and a half days. By tomorrow, if we don’t come up with anything this afternoon, by tomorrow sometime around midday or in the morning, probably, the body would float. So today will be the last diving operation. Tomorrow when we come it is just combing the river banks to await the body floating up.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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