Wed | Apr 24, 2024

US couple whose catamaran was hijacked likely thrown overboard and died, Grenada police say

Published:Monday | February 26, 2024 | 2:24 PM
AP photo.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — An older United States couple whose catamaran was hijacked last week in the Caribbean by three escaped prisoners was likely thrown into the ocean and died, police in Grenada said Monday.

The announcement is a blow to those who were independently helping search for Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel and had hoped they were still alive.

Don McKenzie, police commissioner of the Royal Grenada Police Force, said at a news conference that the three prisoners escaped on February 18 from the South Saint George Police Station.

They hijacked the catamaran “Simplicity” on February 19 and headed to St Vincent and the Grenadines, where they were arrested last Wednesday, he said.

“Information suggests that while travelling between Grenada and St Vincent, they disposed of the occupants,” McKenzie said.

When pressed for details, he said, “We have nothing conclusive to say that the individuals are dead. We still hold out hope that in spite (of) what might be a low probability, that they would turn up alive somewhere.”

He noted that he was “quite limited” with what he could share with the public regarding the case because the investigation is ongoing, and because Grenadian authorities still don't have much information.

“The information I possess is limited and can be considered second-hand as I have had very limited discussions regarding the details of the investigation with my Vincentian counterpart,” McKenzie said.

St Vincent police could not be immediately reached for comment.

The nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association said Hendry and Brandel were “veteran cruisers” and longtime members of the association, calling them “warm-hearted and capable.”

It said the couple had sailed the yacht in last year's Caribbean Rally from Hampton, Virginia, to Antigua, and were spending the winter cruising in the eastern Caribbean.

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