Thursday, September 29, 2022


Bahamas Shark Attack on British Boy: ‘It Was Like a Scene Out of Jaws’

An eight-year-old British boy was reportedly bitten by sharks while on vacation in the Bahamas, last week.

According to British tabloid newspaper, The Sun, the boy Finley Downer was attacked by three nurse sharks at Compass Cay, Exuma when his sister pulled him to safety.

His father, Michael Downer said, “My son could have been killed. It was like a scene out of Jaws.”

During the tour, Finley and his other children, wandered near a lagoon, when he heard screams, “There was so much blood. Bits of his leg were hanging off,” Michael said.

The child was reportedly taken to a nearby clinic on a golf cart and later transported to Nassau for a three-hour operation on his legs.

Michael says he is angry that they were never warned that the sharks were dangerous. However, tour operator Exuma Escapes said the family wandered over to a lagoon not used on its tour.


Photo credit: The Sun

A Rush to Contain the Massive Oil Spill in Exuma

Nearly 30,000 gallons of oil spilled in oceans surrounding Exuma, authorities said.

The environmental disaster is believed to have occurred overnight Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper reported on Wednesday.

What happened?

The Arabian vessel contracted for Sun Oil was offloading fuel to Bahamas Power and Light in George Town, Exuma when the spilling occurred, Cooper told the Nassau Guardian.

How authorities are responding

Cooper said the oil is now contained in the bay area of the Exuma Sailing Club.

He said the relevant ministries have been aware and have deployed officials to deal with the matter.

What’s the impact of the oil spill?

Officials have not yet reported on the damage to the environment and the marine animals, but oil spills kill, poison, and suffocate sea creatures. Research indicates that toxic chemicals remain in the ocean for years and can sink to the floor, also poisoning the sediments.

Its severity on the environment depends on the amount of oil spilled, type and weight of the oil, location of the spill, species of wildlife in the area, timing of breeding cycles, seasonal migrations, and the weather at sea during and after the oil spill.

The big picture

In 2018, 3,800 gallons of diesel oil leaked into the waters at Emerald Bay Marina in Exuma reportedly from two tanks stationed in the marina.

Eye Witness News reported that one of the tanks was owned by Shell Oil and the second tank belonged to Emerald Bay Marina.

It was reportedly cleaned up with minimal impact on the environment.

Photo credits: The Nassau Guardian, Reno Curling Photography and Blaze 98.3 FM Exuma


What to Know of the Deaths of Three Americans at Sandals Resort Exuma

The deaths of three Americans at a Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort in Exuma were mystifying until the autopsy report revealed they died from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The deaths, which are unusual for the Bahamas, were reported on international news stations while speculations swirled that it could negatively impact the Bahamas’ tourism product.

The Americans have been identified as husband and wife–68-year-old Michael Phillips and 65-year-old Robbie Phillips of Tennesee; and 64-year-old Vincent Paul Charello of Florida.

What have the investigations revealed?

The first test sent to a lab in Philadelphia revealed that carbon monoxide killed the three American tourists and was received by authorities on Sunday.

The family hired a private pathologist to investigate the deaths.

What happened?

The unfortunate incident affected four guests in villas next to each other, killing only three. The survivor, 65-year-old Donnis Chiarella was paralyzed in a Florida hospital.

The day before, the guests sought treatment from a medical doctor on the island after experiencing nausea and convulsions. They returned to the villas and investigators believe their deaths occurred between 11 pm Thursday and 8 am on Friday.

Michael Phillips and Robbie Phillips who were celebrating their wedding anniversary were found deceased in the bedroom and bathroom of their villa. They were travel agents specializing in Caribbean honeymoons and romantic getaways.

Michael and Robbie Phillips were both found dead in their villa at Sandals Bahamian Resort in Exuma.

Vincent Paul Charello was discovered dead on the floor of the villa. Donnis Charello was paralyzed with swollen arms and legs and was discovered screaming for help before she was flown to Florida for medical assistance.

Reports surfaced that some guests at the resort complained of a strange odor from an insecticide sprayed in the area, the day before the reported deaths.

Who is responsible for the deaths?

Sandals will be responsible for the deaths of the three American visitors. A source of the carbon monoxide leak has not been released or investigated as yet, but pools and spas are common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning since damaged exhaust systems from heaters are responsible for numerous fatalities or injuries every year.

Exuma Community Remembers Doctor Who Died From COVID-19 Amid Vaccine Plea

An Exuma-based doctor has died from COVID-19, as health officials press for Bahamians to become vaccinated.

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, Chair National COVID-19 Vaccine Consultative Committee disclosed the death of Charles Wildgoose, a doctor in Exuma at the Di-ara Comprehensive Medical Center.

Dahl-Regis said she was informed of his death before speaking at the health update on Sunday afternoon.

Wildgoose was among two other healthcare workers infected with the virus and hospitalized, which included another doctor and a nurse.

Dahl-Regis stated that none of the healthcare workers were vaccinated, included Wildgoose.

Chief Medical Officer Pearl McMillan said just over 50 percent of healthcare workers are vaccinated.

“We have a long way to go. This is of grave concern as it relates to getting healthcare workers vaccinated,” McMillan said.

Speaking directly to healthcare workers, she said, “We must, we must colleagues, we must become vaccinated.”

Meantime, Exuma MP Chester Cooper described Wildgoose as a “calm and caring physician and a progressive entrepreneur who consistently wanted to expand and improve medical care in Exuma.”

FNM candidate for Exuma Jenny Isaacs-Dotson said Wildgoose’s death will have a “great impact on the Exuma community.”

It Gets Worse in Exuma and Eleuthera

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis addressed the House of Assembly on Wednesday morning, bearing bad news. He said Exuma and Eleuthera’s COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing.

As of yesterday, Tuesday 17th,  there were a total of 99 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Exuma, and on Eleuthera, a total of 143 confirmed cases.

Why it matters

  • The competent authority in recent weeks announced restrictive measures for mainland Exuma, and mainland Eleuthera, due to exponential increases in new cases of COVID-19 on those islands.

What’s happening?

  • Health officials report that from the analysis of the map of cases, the spread is occurring throughout Exuma.
  • From interviews conducted in the community by the health team, some people are still having gatherings, and residents believe this is largely contributing to the spread of COVID-19 on Exuma.
  • A team from the Ministry of Health made up of members of the contact tracing team and the surveillance unit is currently in Exuma to assess the COVID-19 situation.
  • A health team is scheduled to return to Eleuthera next week to complete a follow-up assessment and to determine the impact of the recently imposed restrictive measures on that island.

Why Chester Cooper Is Against Exuma’s Strict Measures

After Prime Minister Hubert Minnis implemented restricted measures for Exuma following a rise in COVID-19 cases, area representative Chester Cooper is speaking out against one aspect of the measure that he believes will “dramatically shift the state of everyday life on Exuma”– the weekend lockdowns.

“While the rapid rise in cases on Exuma is very troubling and some restrictive measures may be warranted to slow the spread, I do not support full weekend lockdowns.

“Had anyone in Cabinet bothered to ask my advice, I would have been happy to assist,” he said.

Why it matters

  • Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said there is an exponential increase in cases on that island following the October holiday weekend and two major social events.
  • Over the past week, Exuma has recorded 30 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • As of Tuesday, the 10th of November, a total of 79 positive cases of COVID-19 were recorded on the island of Exuma. Of that number, 28 cases are active, two are hospitalized, and there has been one COVID-19 related death.

Reasons why Chester Cooper says he opposes weekend lockdowns

  • They are too blunt an instrument for the situation as it stands.
  • Exuma is just now experiencing some relief on the tourism front after months of lingering in the economic doldrums.
  • Exuma has international flights now coming in from Florida and North Carolina on Saturdays.
  • And Exuma was experiencing serious interest in domestic travel from New Providence before the quarantine was reinstated.
  • Not only will this damage our brand internationally, but it will further starve Exuma’s economy of vital tourism dollars.

What PM Minnis says

Dr. Minnis acknowledged that it was short notice as the measures come into effect on Thursday, but he said the measure is a critical part of the strategy to contain and to control the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country. He said this measure is designed to stop possible spikes on other islands because of individuals who may be COVID 19 positive, quickly moving to other islands.

What’s the plan?

The strategies employed by our health officials are as follows:

  • When there is an exponential increase in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over a short period of time, restrictive measures will be put in place to mitigate the spread in that location.
  • The number of health officials on Exuma has increased, including a team consisting of contact tracers and members of the surveillance unit will be deployed to Exuma on Friday for further assessment.

Minnis Imposes Strict Measures for Exuma Too

Exuma’s COVID-19 cases are spiking, and like Eleuthera, restricted measures will be imposed to contain the spread of the infectious virus, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced on Wednesday night.

Why it matters

Thirty new cases of the virus were recorded for the week. As of November 10th, 79 total cases were recorded for the island, 29 are active cases, 2 individuals are hospitalized and one death was recorded due to COVID-19.

What are the new measures for the island?

The cays are excluded.

  • The 24-hour weekend curfew will be implemented beginning Friday 13th from 6 pm to 5 am.
  • During the weekend lockdown, businesses will be closed.
  • Weekday curfew is 6 pm to 5 am beginning Thursday 12th.
  • Businesses are permitted to open during the weekday, but Fishfry, bars, and restaurants connected to bars are not allowed to operate.
  • Domestic travel is prohibited in and out of Exuma.
  • A negative PCR test is required if an individual must travel from Exuma.
  • Grave-side funerals are permitted, only with a limited number of 10 people, excluding the officiant.
  • Weddings are limited to 10 people, excluding the officiant.
  • Repass and receptions are forbidden.
  • Churches can hold virtual services.
  • 10 people allowed in-person church services.
  • No in-person class sessions.

What PM Minnis said

  • Dr. Minnis said the data show that the situation in Exuma needs urgent action, thus officials have increased the nursing team on the island. A team will visit the island to further assess the situation.
  • He said the measures are short notice but they are essential to curtailing the spread on that island


Exuma Boating Accident Injures 8 People

Eight people were reported injured in Exuma on Saturday after a vessel hit a reef.

Police said 22 people were onboard when the accident occurred in the area of Buck Cay, Exuma.


Here’s what we know

  • Shortly after 8:00 p.m, officers at the George Town Police Station received information of a boating accident that occurred.
  • Police met a cruise craft partially submerged in waters.
  • The vessel had a three member crew and 19 passengers aboard when it collided with a reef.
  • Eight people were injured and everyone on board were helped to the mainland by other boaters–5 men and 3 women.
  • The injured are being treated for non-life threatening injuries at the area clinic.