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Crime Sropper


Three die in boat accident between La Digue and Praslin


Three persons – two women and a man – have lost their lives following a boat accident which happened on Saturday evening off Round Island, about half way between La Digue and Praslin.

Named ‘Faith’, the converted Mini Mahé with a 15 horse power engine and added cabin had left La Digue about half an hour before and was on its way to Praslin with six persons on board. They had spent the day at the island’s feast.

According to information gathered by our reporter on La Digue and later confirmed by police spokesman Jean Toussaint, the boat capsized in the Ros Kannal area after a lady – Cynthia César – had fallen over board and the other occupants all moved on one side to try and retrieve her.

After the accident, which occurred at about 7pm, the boat’s skipper and owner, Teddy Stravens, managed to swim to the ‘Mary Anne’, a yacht which was then moored off La Digue. The crew took him back to the accident area and after they could find neither sign of his boat nor of any passengers, they brought him back to the island.

The alert had then been given and an intensive nearly 15-hour coordinated search followed. It was conducted by the Seychelles Coast Guard, Air Force, Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) and Marine Police with the help of local aviation company Zil Air, Australian navy vessel HMS Perth and various vessels from Praslin and La Digue. These included the smallest vessel of the ‘Cat Coco’which is based on La Digue and Praslin’s ‘Cat Rose’.

After the night search proved unsuccessful, rescue operations resumed early Sunday morning. By mid day, two persons – Aubrey Jacqueline and six-year-old Rio Chang Tave – were pulled alive from the relatively rough seas. Three other persons were unfortunately found dead. They have been identified as Cynthia and Helena César, and Bernard Camille aged 65 years old.

Michel Godley, normally a sailor on one of the tankers of Seychelles Petroleum Company (Seypec) who helped in the rescue operations on board the ‘Lady Caroline’ skippered by Louis d’Offay, was spending the weekend on La Digue. He recounts how Aubrey Jacqueline and Rio Chang Tave were saved.


“We had wanted to go out and help since Saturday evening. But we could not pull together a sufficient crew. With Mr d’Offay’s daughter Caroline and Mr David Socrates we thus left Praslin in the early morning of Sunday. After Mr d’Offay had calculated our course based on the wind and current direction, we were confident of falling on something. At one point, to the east of Aride Island and north of Curieuse, we saw the helicopter which was ahead of us circling overhead and with another boat skippered by Lionel Waye-Hive, we rushed to its position. This is when we saw only the small boat’s tip above water and not far from there, we saw a man floating with a young boy on his stomach. They were rescued by the Coast Guard vessel while I jumped into the water and tied Faith to Lionel’s boat. We then pulled it to La Digue.”

Only when they reached the shore that they sadly discovered the other elderly man’s body stuck in the cabin. It proved to be that of Bernard Camille.

The Minister for Tourism and Culture Alain St Ange has wished to thank all those from La Digue and Praslin, including Robert Lesperance, who voluntarily helped in the search and rescue operations.

“This is proof of the Praslinois and Diguois’ solidarity,” he commented.

The President of the Republic James Michel has also sent a message of sympathy to the families of the tragedy’s victims. He also personally paid a visit to the families yesterday (see story below).

The photo on front page, taken by Romano Laurence, show the vessel Faith after it had been pulled ashore.


The police force in the Seychelles is a national body which falls under the control of the National Commissioner of Police, who is appointed by the President subject to the approval of the National Assembly....


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