A US couple enjoying their honeymoon in the Jewel was seriously injured at sea. A water taxi ran over them as they snorkeledoff San Pedro at around mid-day. Rob Leonard’s leg was sliced by the water taxi while his wife Dana was also injured. The couple was airlifted to Belize City for urgent medical treatment. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
A boating accident off the southern coast of San Pedro near Suya Tours at midday has left an American couple, visiting from Virginia, seriously injured. Shortly after twelve o’clock today thirty-one year old Rob Leonard and his wife Dana, who are honeymooning in Belize, were snorkeling when they were ran over by a water taxi belonging to San Pedro Belize Express. The vessel had just sped past another passenger boat driven at the time by Andrew Logan when its rotors caught the unsuspecting tourists.
Andrew Logan, Captain, Caye Caulker Water Taxi
“Going towards San Pedro a boat came past me, it went flying towards San Pedro and upon going on to San Pedro the boat slowed down so I was thinking that [it was] an engine failure but when I noticed clearly [there were] some people inside the water waving. So I approached them and I realized that there was a pool of blood around and the people were asking me for help so I went and I helped. When I went closer I saw [that] the guy didn’t have a leg. His right leg was gone.”
Leonard was immediately placed near the stern of this boat owned by Caye Caulker Water Taxi. His right lower leg below the knee was severed during the incident and a tourniquet had to be applied to stop the profuse bleeding.
“I took off my belt and I give it to the guy downstairs so he could tie it so the blood could stop pouring and that was it. It was pretty frightening to see somebody without a leg so, [but] on the other hand I’m a captain so I’ve got to keep my [composure] steady my calm together, get my things together and assist because it could have been me as well.”
Dana Leonard received superficial injuries to her right wrist and she, along with her husband, were rushed to the San Pedro Polyclinic before being airlifted by a waiting Tropic Air plane to Belize City.
“We pulled the guy to the back of the boat, rendered assistance and we took him directly to San Pedro [after] which the Polyclinic [personnel] took him from there and I don’t know what else happened from there.”
“More or less where did this accident take place near the island?”
“This is the south point of San Pedro in front of Suya’s Adventures. And that was pretty close where that accident happened.”
“And these tourists were snorkeling?”
“Yeah, they were snorkeling.”
“Give us a description of the vessel that actually ran over these tourists.”
“Well it’s an outboard machine boat, it’s a speedboat with thirty-eight feet, two, two hundred [horsepower] Yamaha [engines] on it. That’s about the best of it.”
Boat captain Anthony Ortiz is currently under investigation and it is unclear at this time whether any charges will be brought against him. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.
The couple was scheduled to conclude their honeymoon in Belize and return to the US on Saturday. But all that has now changed.