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Joined: Oct 1999
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Police are investigating a boat accident which took the life of a 17-year-old female.

According to a police report, San Pedro police visited the Ambergris Hope Clinic where they observed the motionless body of a female teenager in the emergency room with cut wounds and abrasions, identified as Logan Ceylon Pratt age 17. She was an American student of Oklahoma, USA. Present at the clinic was her mother Tamra Lee Pratt, and Jesse James Smith, 30-year-old Belizean Tour Guide/Boat Captain. He reported that about 2:15PM, he was coming back from a tour at Mexico Rocks located about 8 miles North of San Pedro Town in a 25 feet Fiberglass Skiff named Mathew. While on his way back upon passing the boat captain suddenly heard a noise as if the boat hit a log. He then turned around and heard a female screaming in the water. The girl was with another female in the water suffering from cut wounds to her body. The body of Logan Pratt was transported to Ambergris Hope Clinic where the Doctor pronounced her dead at 3PM. Police detained Smith and urine sample was obtained. Investigation continues.

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American Tourist Dies In Boat Incident Off Coast of Ambergris Caye

An American family vacationing in Belize is mourning the loss of a loved one. What was supposed to be a tropical getaway for the family of seventeen-year-old American student Logan Ceylon Pratt and her family ended in tragedy. The teenager was swimming in the ocean off the coast of Ambergris Caye when she was hit by a boat causing fatal injuries. News Five's Paul Lopez takes a closer look.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

An American student died in a mishap at sea while vacationing in Belize. Shortly after three p.m., seventeen-year-old Logan Ceylon Pratt was swimming along the shores of Ambergris Caye, five miles north of the island in the Mata Grande Area, when the tragedy occurred. A boat belonging to Belize Pro Dive Center Limited collided with Pratt while she was swimming, fatally wounding the American teenager. The captain of the ship, thirty-year-old Tour Guide Jesse Smith, told police that he was on his way back from a tour at Mexico Rocks, located some eight miles north of the island, when suddenly he heard a noise as if the boat had hit a log. He says he turned around and saw Pratt suffering from multiple injuries to her body. Boat captain Smith also saw a second female in the water screaming. Police detained Smith, and a urine sample was taken from him. Up until late this afternoon, Smith was still in police custody. Logan Pratt's body was transported to Ambergris Hope Clinic, where doctors pronounced her dead at around three p.m. Pratt and her family arrived in Belize on Sunday, February twelfth. They stayed at a hotel on the south side of the island. We reached out to Belize Pro Dive Center Limited for comments and were informed that their spokesperson was not in today. We note that Belize Pro Dive Center has in the past received service recognitions from the Belize Tourism Board and Trip Advisor. In the meantime, the US family on vacation in Belize is mourning the tragic death of their loved one.

Channel 5

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Belize Port Authority concludes investigation on tragic February boating accident on Ambergris Caye

An investigation by the Belize Port Authority into the death of 17-year-old American teenager Logan Ceylon Pratt, who was killed in a boating accident on February 14th, has concluded. The tragedy occurred off the northeast coast of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, where the tourist teenager was hit by a boat.

On Tuesday, March 28th, the Acting Port Commissioner, Darlin Gaitan, shared with the media that although they have concluded their findings, there is still no clear decision on whether the boat captain should be charged. The official report states that Pratt and her mother were swimming in the sea off the northern coast of Ambergris Caye when a boat operated by local tour guide Jesse Smith ran over her. The boat collision left her with severe injuries causing her death. The San Pedro Police Formation detained Smith as an investigation started. After overnight detention, Smith was released without charges.

Pratt and her mother were swimming in an area frequently trafficked by boats. Gaitan explained that at this moment, they have concluded gathering information regarding the incident. Before they can switch to a criminal investigation, if done, they need to clarify that Pratt and her mother were swimming in an area they were not supposed to.
Swimming off the northern beaches is considered by many as tempting as the second-longest barrier reef is closer to the shore. Swimming in these areas can be very dangerous as they are busy boat lanes. Speaking with some tour operators on the island, the safe way to do so is to make yourself visible by using a kayak, a buoy, or even towing a flag.

Hoteliers and other stakeholders with beachfront properties and docks must place or erect signs warning not to swim beyond specific points from the shore or dock. With proper signage, tourists and island residents could be better informed when swimming off the beach or docks. This safety measure was implemented in the past but has reportedly been relaxed over the years.

San Pedro Sun

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Logan Ceylon Pratt

Fatal February boating accident case forwarded to the DPP; mother shares experience

The February 14th boating accident case that killed 17-year-old Logan Ceylon Pratt is now before the Director of Public Prosecutions office. Assistant Commissioner of Police Hilberto Romero told the media they await directives on whether charges will be levied against boat captain Jessie Smith. An official report named Smith as operating the boat that ran over Pratt and her mother, Tamra Pratt, while swimming off the coast of northern Ambergris Caye. Concerned islanders question why authorities did not mention the person who reportedly took Pratt and her mother to that area of the island.

Pratt's mother spoke to The Sun about the incident but did not reveal much about who took them to the area where they were swimming. She said they were reportedly invited to go to that area by a local person. Following the accident, an official report stated that Pratt and her mother were swimming in an area frequently trafficked by boats. She refuted this allegation and told The Sun they were in shallow waters and nowhere near the boat lane. Tamra said they had their masks on, looking at fish under the pier, and then walked out beyond the dock when the accident happened. According to her remarks, Smith, who was driving a boat to San Pedro Town, was traveling at a high rate of speed, and no one was in the front part of the boat looking out. Tamra added that Smith did not assist in getting her daughter out of the water after the accident. She said Smith was rude, cursing and yelling at them. "Even when I got on the boat, he continued to yell and offered no medical assistance nor called medical services," Tamra said. Tamra said that she and another passenger in the tour boat had to assist Logan." She believes Smith should have turned off the engine when he hit Logan. According to her, he did not. "Turning off the engine after colliding with anything is common knowledge and covered in obtaining a boat license," said Tamra. Smith refuted such allegations and indicated that as an experienced tour guide, he followed safety measures and rendered help. Smith notes that he was in the boat lane and pointed out that this area north of Ambergris Caye is heavily traversed by boats. Smith calls on the authorities to do more in monitoring unauthorized people posing as tour guides and ill-advising people. He added that the person who took Logan and her mother to that area should have advised them of the dangers of swimming beyond the piers. In addition, visitors to Ambergris Caye and other parts of Belize are advised to book tours only with licensed tour guides.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

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