(Guyana Guardian) – Following a late night collision between two boats in the Waini River on Thursday last which resulted in the undersea disappearance of two children, a community search party subsequently discovered their bodies at different locations last night.
The children, Loydel DaSilva, a girl 8 years of age, and her younger brother Davanand DaSilva age 6 (both of whom could not swim), met their demise after a larger unidentified vessel ran into to their family canoe as they were journeying on their way back into the Waini river around 10pm Thursday night.
At the time, the boat was being commandeered by their father 49 year old Basil DaSilva, and his wife, 43 year old Ophelia James, who was since air-dashed to the Georgetown Public Hospital with several broken ribs and other injuries.
The children’s parents and their older brother Dwayne DaSilva were the only ones who survived the incident.
A few hours after the children were feared drowned, their brother Dwayne, had told the Guyana Guardian that the family canoe was coming in from the sea using a 15hp engine last when it was suddenly ran over by a larger vessel in the vicinity of Hanida, on the west bank of the Waini River.
Dwayne said that after the impact he tried to keep his two siblings afloat, but they all subsequently went under since he had much difficulty supporting himself and the two. But even though he tried to push them while below, there were nowhere in sight when he floated himself up again.
He then turned to injured mother and struggling father, both of whom he assisted to shore.
From all indications, the collision seems to be most impacting around the centre of the canoe where the smaller children and their mother were sitting, hence the reason for her suffering severe injuries.
The father was steering the vessel from the back at the time, while the brother Dwayne was said to be in front at the bow.
While none of the vessels carried navigation lights, Dwayne told this publication that the vessel that collided with them seemed to have been powered by a large 200 horsepower engine.
After the impact, the vessel made no effort to offer them any assistance, and simply sped away.
The Guyana Guardian was able to confirm that is not unusual for members of the Amerindian communities in the North West district to fish at nights.
However, traffickers and smugglers wanting to evade the authorities would also traverse the said Waini River at nights to transport smuggled fuel among other things.
Many believed that the DaSilva family canoe must have inadvertently found itself in the way of a speeding smuggler’s vessel.
The police have since taken a suspect into custody, since three villagers has placed him the area of the tragedy at the time, compounded by the fact that he is one of the only two traders who uses a 200 horsepower engine in the Waini area.
Since the tragedy observers have been pointing fingers at Guyana’s Maritime Administration since unlit vessels and other classes of maritime lawlessness continue to occur under their watch, particularly in the North West District and other interior areas that are strongly reliant on river transport.
Unlike the degree of enforcement that is done in Georgetown, many river passengers in the hinterland continue to ply the river-way without life jackets or other river safety implements.