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Updated: Tug capsizes near Demerara Harbour Bridge, one dead

The tug being salvaged by a crane that was provided by John Fernandes Limited.

A Tug Operator was killed after the tug he was on capsized in the Demerara River late Saturday morning a short distance from the Harbour Bridge.

Traffifc across the east-west thooughfare was halted for one hour around 2 PM to facilitate the salvaging of the two-engine vessel that is owned by the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation.

The corporation said 57-yearbridge roopchand-old and father of one, Seepersaud Roopchand, a Tug Operator attached to the Demerara Harbour Bridge (DHB) fell overboard at approximately 11:40 a.m. on May 31, 2014.

He was later pronounced dead at the Diamond Diagnostic Centre.

Mr. Roopchand was on duty from 6 a.m. to facilitate a bridge inspection. However, he was advised at around 8 a.m. that the inspection was no longer needed and to moor the vessel at Span 8 – the normal docking position.

At approximately 11:40 a.m., a DHB Engineer observed that the tug “Rickford L” was capsized and that Mr. Roopchand was being swept downstream. The DHB’s maintenance boat, which is equipped with safety equipment, was immediately mobilized for the rescue of the West Bank Demerara resident.  

Mr. Roopchand’s body was retrieved some 200 to 300 meters downstream of the bridge. CPR was immediately administered by fellow workers but their efforts were unsuccessful.

The DHB has mounted an internal investigation into the matter. The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and the Police were notified of the incident and are conducting independent investigations.

Mr. Roopchand was a licensed boat operator with DHB since July 25, 2013, and was an experienced captain. Mr. Roopchand’s wife and his next of kin were notified of the incident.

Minister of Public Works Hon. Robeson Benn and the General Manager (GM) Rawlston Adams expressed their deepest regrets at the incident.