International — 01 July 2014 — by Kareem Clarke

Belize’s natural wonders, such as the Blue Hole Natural Monument near Half Moon Caye, attract numerous visitors who sometimes travel thousands of miles to view those spectacles, but while engaging in that experience yesterday, one tourist sadly lost his life, apparently due to respiratory complications.

Yesterday morning, at about 6:25, a group of 19 tourists, including Larry Smith – a visitor from the United States – left from Ramon’s Village dock in San Pedro en route to the Blue Hole Natural Monument, which lies within the atoll lagoon of Lighthouse Reef, about 75km east of Belize City, when tragedy struck.

According to boat captain Marcus Alamina, the dive master and tour guide, they arrived at the diving site at about 10:00 a.m., and upon arrival, he gave a briefing and then separated the divers into two groups.

Alamina told authorities that at about two minutes into the dive, he noticed that Smith was trembling tremendously, and experiencing difficulties breathing.

While gasping for air, Smith’s eyes reportedly dilated, after which his regulator dropped out of his mouth and he became motionless.

He was brought to the surface, but eventually died.

Smith was taken to Half Moon Caye, from which the Coast Guard transported his body to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where it now awaits a post-mortem exam to determine the cause of death.

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