Antiguan gov't to assist in repatriation of bodies of tourists to Canada

December 01, 2023
Devils Bridge contributed photo

The Antigua and Barbuda government has expressed condolences to the family of a 37-year-old Canadian woman and her five year old son, who drowned on Thursday  morning at Devil’s Bridgewhere they had gone to see the sunrise.

Police said that the woman’s 38 year old husband, who is also from Canada, received cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the scene after he went into distress while trying to save his wife and son, who were pronounced dead at the scene.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking from Dubai where he is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), said he was saddened at the event “and if there is anything at all we can do to assist the family we stand ready to assist.

“But it is a very very tragic situation…and I want to express our sincere sympathy to the family. I feel it as though it was a relative. It is so impactful,” he said.

Tourism Minister Charles ‘Max’ Fernandez, said plans are being made to expedite the bodies to Canada.

Fernandez said he had spoken with the husband “and could only imagine what he is going through” and “we are now in the process of seeing what we can do to bring the family home and get him and the bodies back home as quickly as possible”.

This is the second instance of tourist death at Devil’s Bridge this year and the Tourism Minister said that an assessment will be carried out in order to make the area safer.

“We need to get somebody, again to look at it in a professional capacity. We are not just concerned that tourists could be affected we have a lot of our people who also visit …and so we have to see if anything else can be done to prevent this kind of thing happening.

“From my understanding it is a situation where (the family) went very very close on the rocks to the edge and I think it made it all the more dangerous. Having said that we are still going to review the entire thing to see what we can do to ensure that …people are protected.”

Fernandez said that the husband had informed him that ‘they came to see the sunrise…and that’s most unfortunate,” he said, noting that it was some joggers who had been able to save the husband “and pull him out of the water because he jumped in to save his family and he himself could not swim.

“So from what I was told, its not official, but the joggers were the ones that rescued him,” he added.

Devils Bridge got its name because the rock used to look like a bridge before part of it fell away into the sea. The slaves on the Island used to cross the bridge and drown themselves believing their spirits would live on and they would return one day a free person and not a slave anymore.


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