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Tourist drowns in Tobago; North coast calm (with CNC3 video)

Published: 
Monday, March 11, 2013
Normal Sunday Beach Lime: Bathers mingle among pirogues to enjoy the best of Toco beach yesterday. Many ignored the Met Office’s rough seas bulletin and carried on with the normal Sunday afternoon beach lime. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Although waves as high as ten feet were forecast for Trinidad’s northern coast over the weekend, beaches were relatively normal for much of yesterday. The waves did prove to be fatal in Tobago, however, where one life was lost. An 85-year-old Swiss tourist, Albert Dietschi, who was a guest at the Footprints Eco Resort, drowned while kayaking. 

 

 

According to employees at the resort, Dietschi was warned of the rough seas by management but did not heed the warning. He later encountered rough waters and his kayak overturned at Culloden Bay. He was later rushed to the Scarborough Hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

 

A warning issued by the National Hurricane Centre on March 6 said a surge in wind energy would cause extremely high waves starting yesterday. The T&T Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) and the T&T Meteorological Service also put out rough seas bulletins on Friday predicting long periods of swells and battering waves near shorelines. 

 

Yesterday, lifeguards at Salybia Beach reported strong currents and winds but normal beach traffic. Lifeguard patrol captain Vishnu Ragoonanan told the T&T Guardian visitors to the beach did not heed the ODPM and Met Office bulletins. He said they had the usual number of Sunday visitors. On the way to the northern coast, many excursion and tour buses were spotted heading to the beaches, in addition to those on the beach. 

 

Drowning in Tobago

The patrol captain at Toco, Arnold Campbell, also reported that wave heights were normal. The beach was also littered with visitors and buses. Campbell did say there were heavier winds than normal. The normal wave height was also evident at Matelot Beach and Mission Bay. The waves were also normal at Maracas and Las Cuevas Bays.

 

While waves appeared normal at beaches across the country, the Met Office issued a third bulletin at 1 pm. The bulletin continued to warn of hazardous sea conditions along the north-western and eastern coast. The bulletin said long periods of swells were forecast for the next three to four days. 

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