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Death at Blue Hole raises questions - Jun. 17

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  • Death at Blue Hole raises questions - Jun. 17

    A tourist died at the Blue Hole attraction near Lodge, St Ann Saturday, when a tree limb fell, hitting him on the head, in what is said to have been a freak accident.Dead is 24-year-old Lee Rickman, of North Carolina in the US.

    Another member of a school party of which Rickman was a part was also injured. However, he attended to Rickman who was reportedly knocked unconscious. The injured man was named as Pastor Paul Coates. He was hospitalized, Saturday and kept in hospital.

    Rickman was a teacher at Wesleyan Christian Academy; a private school located in High Point, North Carolina, USA and was part of a trip organized by the school from June 5 to 15. The group was staying at Gloriana Hotel, Montego Bay, St James. According to information on the school’s website, the tour members were carrying out various volunteer efforts at charities in St James. Fun activities were also listed as part of the trip.

    Reports from the police are that Rickman was on the attraction’s compound about 11:00 am, when a branch broke from a tree and hit him on the head. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

    Police did not name the attraction but The Times can report that it took place at Blue Hole, an increasingly popular spot at Lodge, near Mile End, some 15 miles from Ocho Rios.

    The Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCO) says the attraction is not licenced and is not a Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) approved facility. Police say that even before the fatal accident they had been taking an interest in the attraction and had sent officers there to send away an increasing number of tour buses and taxis taking visitors there.


    There are three attractions at the area called Blue Hole and according to Johnny Marsh, head of TPDCO, Ocho Rios, only one, that highest on the hills at Blue Hole is licenced.

    He said the attraction where Rickman was killed was not licenced. Asked why it was still in operation, Mr Marsh said he expected the police to ask for a licence and shut down any illegally operated tourism business

    Reports are that Rickman was with at least three adults and twelve students from the Wesleyan School, North Carolina on a tour of the attraction when he sat on a bench and was hit by a branch that came down from a tree.

    Police inspector in charge of Ocho Rios, Orville Bushay said it was a freak accident.

    Blue Hole is part of the upper valley of White River, near a JPS site, and has falls and deep pools scoured by the falls, in beautiful lush vegetation. It is kept close to its natural state and the main areas to which visitors are taken are difficult to access. Young men take people up the steep climb and then show them pools into which they can dive. The men also do summersaults and dives for their visitors who they charge a fee. The site is listed on Trip Advisor and tourism interests say many people ask at the hotels, as far as Negril, to be taken there. member #946 for LIFE!

  • #2
    I am sorry the man died. A limb from a tree falling is a freak accident.
    If you don't fight for what you deserve, you deserve what you get.
    We are > Fossil Fuels --- Bill McKibben


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