Deadly fishing expedition: US tourist jumped out of boat in panic – Police

A post-mortem examination (PME) is to be conducted on the recovered body of 38-year-old Thomas Carstens Jr, the American tourist who went missing after the boat in which he was travelling capsized on Tuesday at about 100 kilometres up the Essequibo River in North Rupununi, in the vicinity of Apoteri Village.

The body of the US tourist in the Rupununi River

Carstens Jr and seven other foreign nationals had on November 18 arrived in 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 November 22, Carstens Jr and another American tourist, Jered Weiland, along with their tour guide and boat captain, 29-year-old Jim George, departed the resort where they headed upstream in the Essequibo River in an aluminium boat that was powered by a 15-horsepower outboard engine.
After about 1 hour and 30 minutes upstream, they were traversing through rapids when the outboard engine encountered a mechanical problem which caused the boat to drift down the rapids.
Police said water started to get into the boat, causing Carstens Jr to panic.
As a result, it is reported that Carstens Jr 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 became “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 seven metres away from where the boat stopped. The boat sank and Carstens Jr went under water and did not resurface.
Police added that Carstens Jr, Weiland, and George were due to return to the Eco Lodge Resort at 17:00 on the date, and after they did not 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 November 23, a team of Police went to the location where the incident occurred. The following day, the tourist’s body was recovered about 5km from where the incident happened.
The body, which was in an early stage of decomposition, was then fished out of the water and placed into a boat to be transported to Lethem.
The body arrived at Lethem on November 25 and the autopsy is scheduled for today.
In a statement on the matter on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Oneidge Walrond urged that persons ensure their tours and tour operators are approved by the Guyana Tourism Authority. The Minister warned that tours that are not approved often do not have the necessary safety systems and protocols in place.
Just last month, a Brooklyn cop vacationing in Guyana went missing while swimming in Orinduik Falls. His body was subsequently recovered near the popular tourist site.