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Feb 16, 2011

Tourist drowns during cave expedition

For the second time in one month, a tourist has lost her life while on a water expedition in Belize.  This time the deceased is an eighty-three year old who died after she fell out of a canoe into ten-foot deep waters during a caving expedition in the Cayo District.  The accident occurred around twelve-thirty this afternoon at the Barton Creek Archaeological Reserve, some nine miles off the Western Highway and about twelve hundred feet inside the cave system.  News Five’s Marion Ali is just back from Barton Creek and has this report.

Marion Ali

Marion Ali

“Reports are that eighty-three year old Mildred Lines was in a canoe similar to the one that we’re in and was wearing a life vest just like this one when she tried to avoid a collision with the walls of the cave. It was while she was pushing herself off the wall that she caused the canoe to flip and she fell into the water.”

Israel Cucul

Israel Cucul, Park Ranger, Barton Creek Archaeological Reserve

“Cayo Adventures bring twenty five tourists so they went in a boat of like eleven and they have three tour guides with them, an experience tour guide as I know. So they have on life vests and when they went there, when they come out, they were calling for me. When I get out of the house, they told me that somebody flip over the canoe when they get against the wall. So I make a call to Cahal Pech for an ambulance as soon as possible. So they bring the lady out here; I helped him to bring out the lady.”

Park Ranger at the Barton Creek Archaeological Reserve, Israel Cucul, told News Five that the depth of the water in the cave was normal, but that there was nothing anyone could do to save the tourist’s life.

Israel Cucul

“We usually do caving at every time like this; this is a normal water at this time. So usually people just comes to cave tubing and canoeing at every time. So it is normal at this location.”

Marion Ali

“I am sure you always have incidents like these when a canoe would flip over. What went wrong this time that you all weren’t able to save a life?”

Israel Cucul

“Well actually like right now, I think the old lady couldn’t help itself.  The tour guides do help her, but they noh with it pretty late.”

Marion Ali

“Was this the first time that something like this happen here?

Israel Cucul

“This is the first time yeah.”

The body of the deceased was transported to the San Ignacio Town Morgue where it awaits a post mortem examination. Marion Ali for News Five.

The first incident in which another female tourist lost her life was in late January when fifty-nine year old Diana Mechling, a U.S. citizen, was slashed by the propeller of a catamaran while on a snorkeling trip.

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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11 Responses for “Tourist drowns during cave expedition”

  1. Justice says:

    How come we do not hear of incidents like this in other countries that promotes tourism?

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    It is possible that this woman had a heart or after she fell in the water. Unless her life vest was defective or she removed it, it should have kept her head above water. We need to know what really caused her death & how long it took the guide(s) to get to her.


    I find it so strange that this woman who was wearing a life vest, and was along with other people on the same boat died, and no one could have help her.
    Are these tour guides responsible enough to trust with your lives?
    Do they take CPR, etc courses to aid in emergency cases, this is not the first time tourists died in Belize while their tour guides could not rendered any help.

  4. hubert johnson says:

    it is quite embarrasing when journalist call these guides well experience .they might be experience as a guide but not at safety and rescue .In water ventures if there are many kids or elderly there has to be more safety personnel and mandatory adhereance to safety. It ‘s only in Belize you see people trying to make maximum profit without regards for safety of peoples life, just look at the TRANSPORT system on LAND and SEA as examples,all the authoritis do is give condolence and business continue as usual. Here in Peru all public places and facilities have a lable capacity that is allowed at a given time, It is high time Belize stop the PROCRASTINATION.

  5. Earl Grey says:


  6. MACAL RIVERA says:

    what an 83 years old doing in the water? I think she was too old for these activities! my personal comments

  7. BZNinCALI says:

    :Correction: I meant heart attack.

  8. Storm says:

    No life-jackets? Whoever was responsible for the outing should be held responsible for that. Any child knows better, especially with an 83-year old victim!

  9. belizean ppl says:

    with my understanding …….. when you have a responsiblites is very good but if your crew are not abiding by it how else you can help it ….. she know better than that too……… i guess she just refuse to wear her life jacket and maybe it’s her time anyway……. may she rest in peace.

  10. shock says:

    Hello Justice, if you do a little research you will find out that accident does happen with tourist in other country, such as the boat accident in Vietnam yesterday that took the lives of nine tourist; and you will see in that piece of news on Yahoo that accident on the same river in Vietnam had happen many times and caused the lives of many tourist. Yes some accident are perhaps avoidable, but then again no one know the substantial reality of all accidents after man has done his best. We wish this was a perfect world but its not, until such time we have to deal with accident and hope that we learn from each accident that in the long run we will cut down on accidents. The airline industry(National Transportation) is a good example of how rational and skillful individuals go about seeking for information and leave no stone unturn as they put the pieces together from an accident that will help in curtailing accident in the future.

  11. Vicky says:

    This is an old thread but we almost died here in 2007. Very very unsafe I still have nightmares about it.

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