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American Tourist Drowns During Fishing Expedition in Region 9

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24th of November, 2022

Last updated: July 22, 2023 at 17:02 pm

Team Guyana, South America extends heartfelt condolences to the relatives and friends of Thomas Carsten, a US tourist who died during a fishing expedition in the Rupununi. Thomas reportedly drowned on Tuesday, 22nd of November, 2022 when the boat he was in overturned about 100 kilometers up the Essequibo River in North Rupununi, in the vicinity of Apoteri Village. He was 38 years old at the time of his death.

On Wednesday, 23rd of November, 2022, Thomas’ family received a call from the Guyana embassy that he had gone missing during a fishing expedition in Region 9.

The family contacted this publication on Wednesday asking for help in locating Thomas. The Ministry of Tourism and various other government agencies were notified and a search and rescue operation went into motion.

Unfortunately, Thomas was found dead on 24th of November, 2022. He was discovered floating in the Rupununi River. His body was subsequently transported to the Lethem Regional Hospital Mortuary.

According to his family overseas, Thomas was on tour with a US tour organization not affiliated with the Guyana Tourism Authority. As such, the Ministry of Tourism has advised that tourists go on tours with certified tour guides who are trained and equipped for visitor safety.

The following is a synopsis of the sequence of events:

On 18th November, 2022 at about 10:10hrs, Thomas Carstens Jr (now deceased); Jered Weiland, a 24-year-old citizen of the United States of America and six other foreign nationals arrived at Apoteri Village, North Rupununi via a private chartered aircraft for a seven-day fishing expedition which is hosted by Mark Bolton of Kanuku Lodge Eco Resort, who is also the host for ‘Amazon River Monster.’

On the 22nd November 2022, at about 07:00hrs, the now deceased Thomas Carstens and Jered Weiland, along with 29-year-old tour guide Jim George, who is also a boat Captain who resides at Apoteri Village in the North Rupununi, departed the resort. They headed upstream in the Essequibo River in an aluminum boat measuring approximately 15 ft in length by 5 ft in width, powered by a 15 horsepower outboard engine and captained by Jim George.

According to the two other men on board, about 1 hour and 30 minutes in the river upstream they were going through rapids where the outboard engine encountered a mechanical problem which caused the boat to drift down the rapids. Water started to get into the boat causing Carstens to panic. As a result, it is reported that Carstens jumped into the water where he held on to the side of the boat. He then tried to get back into the boat but while doing so the boat ‘off balance’ and took in more water.

Weiland and George then jumped into the river and managed to swim to an island that was about 7 meters away from where the boat stopped. The boat sank and Carstens went under water and did not resurface.

However, since Carstens, Weiland, and George were due to return to the Eco Lodge Resort at 17:00 on the date, but didn’t show, a search party went up the river where Weiland and George were found on the island. They related what transpired to the search team and the matter was reported to the Police.

On 23th November 2022, at about 12:30hrs, Detective Corporal Daniels and Lance Corporal Cameron along with a search party went to the location where the incident occurred.

On 24th November 2022, at about 12:30 hours, the body of Thomas Carstens Jr. was found about 5 Kilometers away from the incident area. A black camera was strapped to the body which was facing downward in the water.

The body, which was in an early stage of decomposition, was then fished out of the water and placed into a boat where D/Cpl Daniels examined the body of Thomas Carstens Jr. for marks of violence but none was seen. D/Cpl Daniels took possession of the said body to be escorted to Annai Village.

On 25th November 2022, at about 01:30 hours, D/Cpl Daniels arrived with the body of Thomas Carstens Jr. at Annai Village and same was taken to Annai Health Centre. At about 08:00 hrs, the body was escorted from the Annai Health Centre to the Lethem Regional Hospital where it was pronounced dead on arrival by Dr. Orlando Hendricks. Same was lodge in the said institution’s mortuary waiting a post mortem examination which is slated for today (Saturday November 26).

A few months prior to this event, another American citizen had drowned at a waterfall in Region 8.

Some of the content of this article was reprinted with permission from Action News Guyana.

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