Guyana: Body of missing American tourist found in river

Guyana: Body of missing American tourist found in river

A post-mortem examination is to be conducted on the recovered body of 38-year-old Thomas Carstens Jr, the American tourist who went missing after the boat he was travelling in capsized about 100 kilometres up the Essequibo River in North Rupununi, in the vicinity of Apoteri Village on November 22.  

According to a report from the Guyana Police Force, Thomas Carstens Jr along with other foreign nationals arrived at Apoteri Village, North Rupununi via a private chartered aircraft for a seven-day fishing expedition on November 18.  

Carstens along with the boat captain/ tour guide and another traveller on November 22, headed upstream in the Essequibo River in an aluminum boat measuring approximately 15 ft in length by 5 ft in width, powered by a 15-horsepower outboard engine.  

About 1 hour and 30 minutes in the river upstream they were going through rapids when the outboard engine encountered a mechanical problem which caused the boat to drift down the rapids. Water started to get into the boat causing Carstens to panic. 

As a result, it is reported that Carstens jumped into the water where he held onto the side of the boat. He then tried to get back into the boat but while doing so the boat ‘off balance’ and took in more water.  

The boat captain and the other traveller then jumped into the river and managed to swim to an island that was about seven metres away from where the boat stopped. The boat sank and Carstens went underwater and did not resurface.  

However, since the group were due to return to a Resort later that day, but didn’t show, a search party went up the river where the two surviving men were found on the island. They related what transpired to the search team and the matter was reported to the Police.  

On November 23, a search party went to the location where the incident occurred and the following day the body of Thomas Carstens Jr was found about five kilometres away from the incident area. A black camera was strapped to the body which was facing downward in the water. 

The body, which was in an early stage of decomposition, was fished out of the water and placed into a boat where it was examined for marks of violence but none was found. 

His body was taken to Annai Health Centre and then transferred to the Lethem Regional Hospital mortuary for a post-mortem examination slated for today.