T&T: Bodies Of 3 Underwater Divers Found, Search Continues For Fourth

(CMC) – The state-owned Paria Fuel Trading Company said three bodies of the four underwater welders missing while working on a 36-inch underwater crude oil pipeline in Pointe–a-Pierre, Trinidad, over the weekend, had been recovered.

In a statement issued late Monday night, the company said they did not identify the bodies found but said that the families had been notified.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce the recovery of the bodies of three of the four divers who went missing on Friday, 25, February 2022.

“No effort was spared in the attempts to treat the bodies with the utmost respect during the recovery operation,” Paria said, adding that the efforts will continue to recover the fourth body.

The four missing divers are – Fyzal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar, Kazim Ali Jr and Yusuf Henry- while a fifth diver, Christopher Boodram, was rescued on Friday. He is reported to be in a stable condition at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Paria had said that the five employees of LMSC Ltd, a private contractor, were conducting an underwater maintenance exercise at No 36 Sealine riser, berth six, when “an incident occurred.”

In its statement on Monday night, Paria reiterated that “a full investigation into the incident will be undertaken to understand the root cause of the incident”.

On Monday, Energy and Energy Industries Minister, Stuart Young, said the government would appoint an independent team to probe the circumstances that led to tragedy.

“This is an unfortunate accident,” Young said, adding such accidents have taken place around the world involving underwater diving.

In a statement posted on the website of the official Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley said ‘even as we prayed and hoped for a miracle, it was not to be.

“In this period of great loss and deep trauma for all the families and the national community, I extend sincerest condolences to all their loved ones.

“I want to give the assurance to the families that nothing will stand in the way of determining how this tragedy occurred. I also want to commit to them that all that has to be done by Paria and its associates in this matter will be professionally executed starting with the already announced independent investigation involving the best professional and technical expertise available to the country.”

Rowley said that “it is in times like these that we are called upon to be caring and comforting and I have every confidence that our nation will not be found wanting”.