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Recovery Worker ‘Swims’ At Only Beach In Territory Closed For Pollution … And Drowns

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE –– Police said a recovery worker ignored local government warnings and swam at the only beach closed to the public for environmental reasons — and drowned.

The Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) said it will not release the name of the Louisiana man who went into the water fully clothed at Coki Point on St. Thomas on Sunday.

“I happen to know that this was one of the workers that came down recently for one of the government restoration projects,” Facebook platform reader Lisa Butler said. “He also did not go for a  ‘swim’ he went in fully clothed and evidence points to a suicide. Really sad.”

Police said that officers from the Major Crimes Unit went to Coki Point to investigate a possible drowning there at 6:31 p.m. on Sunday.

EMTs tried to revive the man, but police arriving on the scene noticed that he had no vital signs.

The recovery worker was transported to the Schneider Regional Medical Center (SRMC) where he was pronounced dead at 7:26 p.m.

The Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) warned people not to swim at Coki Point beach on Friday, but the recovery worker either didn’t know of the warning or didn’t heed it.

It was the only beach in the territory closed to swimming or fishing last week.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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