Emergency personnel and volunteers at Zeelandia Bay. (KPCN photo)
ST. EUSTATIUS--Officers of the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN and the Fire Department were engaged in a rescue operation for a female hiker who was swept into the water at Gilboa Bay after a big wave had knocked her off her feet and into the water around 8:00am Thursday, April 27.
The woman was part of a group of four hikers who regularly hike on St. Eustatius. She tried to hold onto on of her fellow hikers but she nevertheless fell into the water. The man fell onto the rocks, sustaining injuries to his ribs and hand.
The woman could not swim to shore due to the rocky coast at Gilboa. Instead, she swam for more than two hours to reach Zeelandia beach.
One of the hikers made his way to the top of the hill to obtain cellular signal, after which he alerted the emergency services. He also called two ship captains for assistance, but they did not see the woman in the water.
However, she made it safely to Zeelandia, where the staff member of the Governor’s Cabinet was greeted by Government Commissioner Alida Francis.
KPCN stated that the male hiker had managed to swim back to shore, but due to the high tide and an injury she sustained during her fall, the woman was unable to return.
The police and the fire department were called to the scene and started an investigation and search for the woman, assisted by a local fishing boat.
The woman used her backpack to float and was able to swim to Zeelandia beach, from where police officers and firefighters escorted her back to the other hikers.
Both the man and the women were injured and received medical assistance by ambulance personnel at the scene. The man had to be transported to Queen Beatrix Medical Centre for further medical attention.