Caribbean yacht death Briton 'had blast injuries'

  • Published
St VincentImage source, Thinkstock
Image caption,
Police made the announcement after releasing the results of a post-mortem examination

A dead Briton found near his burning yacht had injuries consistent with an explosion, authorities on the eastern Caribbean island of St Vincent say.

Police said John Edward Garner, 53, was the only person on board the catamaran when it caught fire and sank on Friday.

Police made the announcement after the results of a post-mortem examination.

Officials said Mr Garner's partner had left the island a couple days before the apparent explosion and she was no longer being sought for questioning.

'Marina repairs'

Police in St Vincent and the Grenadines said Mr Garner was found on a life raft by coastguards investigating reports of a boat fire. Mr Garner's died at Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, in Kingstown, on St Vincent.

BBC Caribbean correspondent Nick Davis said: "According to the detective leading the investigation, John Edward Garner had flown into the island in January along with his Norwegian wife.

"She had left to go back to Norway and he had been getting his boat seaworthy. It had been in the marina for repairs only a few weeks before."

Local media said the burning yacht, called Asante, was found approximately 15 nautical miles off the coast of Buccament Bay, in St Vincent, at about 12:30 local time (16:30 GMT).

First to scene

Diving instructor Kay Wilson, who was first on the scene, said she had spotted a plume of black smoke and had steered her power boat, containing visitors on a diving trip, to the scene to try to help.

Image source, SVG TV
Image caption,
The local SVG TV channel posted this picture, reportedly showing the boat on fire

When she arrived, the yacht was engulfed by flames and almost underwater, she said, and Mr Garner was spotted floating in the water, wearing a lifejacket.

She said: "We got within about 15 to 20ft, we could tell that he had injuries but it was not until our diver got in the water and approached him we could see the injuries."

Other boats including the coastguard arrived to help, she said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the death of a British national in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We are providing consular assistance to the family at this difficult time."

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