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Essequibo woman dies in boat collision off Bartica

An Essequibo River woman was early Tuesday night killed in a boat collision while going to pick up her brother at Bartica, triggering a call for persons to take abide by marine safety rules and for the Maritime Administration (MARAD) to set up a permanent presence at Bartica.

Regional Chairman Gordon Bradford urged residents of the riverain communities to wear life-vests and use lights when travelling after sunset. “Even if it’s a paddle boat, you have to use a light so people can see you,” he said.

He said that although MARAD officials and boat captains have been stressing the importance of using life-vests, passengers often “throw caution to the wind.” Bradford also urged MARAD to “have a permanent presence” at Bartica to enforce safety rules.

The woman was identified as 25-year old Lovina Braithwhaite of Falmouth, a tiny community on the right bank of the Essequibo River.

Sources said that the accident occurred nearer the Hi-Lo Hotel/ Baboolall Boat Landing, Bartica at about 7:30 PM.

According to the source, a 200 Horse Power speedboat had just arrived from the interior and was crossing the Essequibo River to go to Falmouth when it collided with a 15 Horse Power boat that the woman was driving. She was rushed to the Bartica Hospital where she was succumbed to head and other injuries.

At the time of the accident, Braithwhaite  was going to collect her brother who works at Platinum Gas Station, Bartica. The mother of one had moments earlier prepared dinner for the household before leaving for Bartica. She was not wearing a life-jacket and it is unclear whether she was carrying a light.