BVI News

Body of US citizen found at sea

Photo Credit: VISAR

The body of a 66-year-old male United States citizen was discovered at sea on Thursday afternoon (December 20), local police have told BVI News.

Police found the body near Buck Island.

A search was launched after authorities received reports of a vessel that appeared to be unmanned at sea.

“A salvage company went to the boat and discovered that the engine was on but nobody on board the boat,” representative of the Virgin Islands Search Rescue (VISAR) Phil Aspinall told BVI News.

“We assumed the captain had fallen overboard or something so we then started to search for him,” he explained.

The now deceased man had departed a dock in East End earlier that day, BVI News was told.

Police Information Officer Diane Drayton said the man was a resident of Florida in the US.

Copyright 2020 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

42 Comments

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  1. Visitor says:

    That’s quite an insensitive thing to say

    Like 16
    Dislike 1
  2. D.S. says:

    Unless you have all the facts, feel free to shut your mouth and move along with your day. Undoubtedly, family will be reading these posts. As a fellow human being, probably with family of your own, show atleast a modicum of compassion for the family that has experienced this great loss. Thank you

    Like 32
    Dislike 4
    • Tobi Horgan says:

      Thank you for your post. I am the “deceased” man’s wife and we are in anguish in Florida with little or no information and very little cooperation or compassion. He has 6 children and 9 grandchildren who are in anguish and I am left to imagine my husband slowly decomposing and unattended. We’ve been told he cannot be released to us until an autopsy is performed. We were told the medical examiner is on vacation until January 3rd! They cannot give us any answers or any other options. We are in the dark and left to fend for ourselves to figure this out with no assistance from the government there. Another issue is that we are Jewish and by Jewish law there is supposed to be a burial within 24 hours. We know that wouldn’t happen but this is heartbreaking and unacceptable. My husband and I have been sailingvin the BVI for 20 years about 6-8 weeks a year. We have attachments and many friends there. Nobody should be put through the additional nightmare we are being subjected to while we are grieving this tragedy. My husband is a prominent cardiologist with a 30 year practice and due to retire January 15th. He was checking the boat out after hurricane repairs have been completed so that we could take a 2 month trip throughout the Caribbean. Maybe now I have been able to humanize the “deceased man enough for someone to show some compassion or provide is with a way to get him home now! We need him home. We love the BVI and we know we are not dealing with s third world country. It’s impossible to believe that it would be acceptable to anyone to handle this situation so heartlessly and without any attempt or suggestions of other options for us. It has been like a second home to us but I will never go back there again.

      • Elli Peinke says:

        I am terrible sad for your loss of your husband.
        Four years ago at this time I loss my Partner in an accident on Spanish Island.
        He was American and I experienced the same problems on the Island.
        Unfortunately I also had to wait until the new year before a postmortum could be done.
        After 2 weeks I flue him to Peuto Rico for cremation so his ashes could be sent back to USA.
        It was very time consuming for a tragic accident.
        I feel for you but there is very little help on the island. My condolances to you and your family.

        • LH says:

          response to Elli — I am so sorry for your loss. No one should ever have to go through anything like this situation or your situation. I am truly sorry for your loss and pain that you had to experience.

      • Death of Loved ones says:

        Please accept my deapest sympathies… I too experienced this…The process is long and frustrating…I do apologize for the other BVIslanders…The Commissioner of Police is who we worked with to get the body released so we can lay ouroved one to rest…I was almost a month before we could get the body…I am.so sadden by this and can only imagine…but please don’t give up on the BVI
        ..don’t let a few inconsiderate people take away what you once cherished with your lovely husband…God bless you and your family.

  3. A.A. says:

    He was a great man. A cardiologist. He did not go there to die. He wasn’t murdered. Something happened and now a great man is no longer on this Earth to see his grandchildren grow, to lay by his wife’s side at night, to watch his children grow old and is no longer here to continue to live his life. Please be kind and respectful his family will see these posts and the last thing they need is to see negative comments. RIP Dr. H. I will miss you.

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
  4. Nurse. says:

    He was a great man. A cardiologist. He did not go there to die. He wasn’t murdered. Something happened and now a great man is no longer on this Earth to see his grandchildren grow, to lay by his wife’s side at night, to watch his children grow old and is no longer here to continue to live his life. Please be kind and respectful his family will see these posts and the last thing they need is to see negative comments. RIP Dr. H. I will miss you.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  5. Nurse. says:

    He was a great man. A cardiologist. He did not go there to die. He wasn’t murdered. Something happened and now a great man is no longer on this Earth to see his grandchildren grow, to lay by his wife’s side at night, to watch his children grow old and is no longer here to continue to live his life. Please be kind and respectful his family will see these posts and the last thing they need is to see negative comments. RIP Dr. H. I will miss you.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  6. Henry Navarra says:

    He was a very nice person, I only knew him a short waile, my prays and Dearest sympathy for the family, I enjoyed talking with him. R.I.P Joe…

    Like 11
  7. @Lily says:

    Where was any mention of a dingy? We’re you onboard ? What else do you want to share?

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  8. Neice says:

    My uncle was a wonderful man who was loved by so many. This has been devastating for our family. His wife, children, grandchildren, brother, sisters, nieces and nephews are all in a state of disbelief and shock. Please be kind in your posts, as this is an emotional and heart breaking time for all that have been affected by this tragedy.

    Like 17
  9. Bravery says:

    Heard man alone was on board coming from USA not a good idea to all captains 2 man onboard better than to

    Like 3
    Dislike 7
    • Lindsey says:

      He wasn’t coming from the USA. He’s from FL, but was already in the BVI test driving the boat after the damages from the hurricane were repaired. He took the boat maybe 5 mins away. He’s an incredibly smart man and an amazing captain and the absolute best father. It was just a horrible accident that has changed our lives forever.

      Like 10
      Dislike 2
    • Or not says:

      You heard wrong

  10. Sister says:

    I don’t know who you are or why you wrote that. This is my brother you are talking about. What a horrible shock to read what you wrote. Why would you write that when you don’t know anything that really happened? All of my family and myself are in shock and totally devastated that he died. We only want the true story so it would be a nice thing if you apologized.

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  11. Lindsey says:

    I just want them to let me bring my daddy home. Why is this so difficult? My whole world is shattered and we can’t even have some closure. I just want him back.

    • Yes says:

      It’s very difficult at such an emotional time but exactly the same when a foreigner dies in the USA or any other country. Procedures have to be followed and things do not move quickly unfortunately. May he RIP

      • Lindsey says:

        Procedures are very different from the only medical examiner being on vacation until Jan 3rd without a backup medical examiner in place. This happened on dec 20th and our religion requires us to bury him within 24 hours of death. This whole thing is just very insensitive and should be illegal. This is torture for all of us. We have offered everything.

        • joseph says:

          Be patient.

          What if the autopsy reveals that
          “foul play” led to his death? One cannot assume anything.

          Procedures must be followed. I understand your religious concerns … but Why should the rush to bury him within a 24 hour period obviate legal procedures?

          • Lindsey says:

            Hi Joseph,

            I completely agree. We wanted them to start the autopsy and investigation immediately rather than just keeping him in a freezer and letting his body decay. Also if they are suspicious of foul play, then that is still a lot of time to let any possible suspects get away or cover anything up. We were worried we would lose critical information. We want everything done very thoroughly, but we want it done in a timely manner. We have been kept in the dark about majority of the stuff going on. It’s now been 9 days and, from what we have been told, they just started doing stuff yesterday. All of his kids are living in different parts of the U.S. and are required to leave FL fairly soon due to school/work. We will fly back down when the funeral is arranged, but its tearing me apart knowing that we might not get to say goodbye to him prior to going back to our usual routine. It’s just a difficult situation all around. We just want answers and more than anything we want our father back.

  12. Billfargo says:

    Where did the boat departed from? Was there a dingie with the boat when it departed? Was a dingie with the boat when rescue found it? I think that Lilly need to answer a whole lot of questions, because her mouth open and story jump out!

  13. JBS says:

    He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother with a heart of gold He was loved by all including his patients. This is a tragic event.. I cannot emphasis how wonderful he was. His passing leaves a giant void for all who knew him.

  14. LCS says:

    Condolences to all his family and friends. It’s most sad, especially at this time of the year. May the Almighty give you the strength to deal with such tragedy. BVI process, for these circumstances is very slow and tenuous. We are very sorry for your loss. On the positive side, he loved it here.

  15. Interested says:

    Praying for his family

  16. Sympathiser says:

    I understand the family concerns and I deeply sympathize with all of them however every country have laws which must be followed. If this had happened to one of our citizens in the USA we would wait and we would understand that for you have your laws as well. For heavens sake let’s be fair

    • Lani says:

      You would not wait 2 weeks because the theres only 1 medical examiner in the BVI to START an autopsy in the United States. My family is suffering due to the DELAY of the BVI STARTING. Nobody in our family is asking for anything to be bypassed, we are just asking that the process be started immediately. He passed on December 20th, and now finally they started the autopsy yesterdsy. I dont believe the request of our family was unfair by any means.
      So many people like to comment but have NO IDEA, what has actually taken place.

      Like 2
      Dislike 1
  17. Anonymous says:

    My condolences to the family I didn’t know him personally but I knew his sister Donna may he rest in peace. Call me if you need anything.

  18. Very concerned says:

    I want to know why in the world was he sailing from B.V.I to Florida, Alone ????? I don’t care how good a sailor, He should have never bein alone. This good hearted man should never have circum to this!!! Not any friends or family member wanted to go with him, ???? Why ??? And how does one fall off his boat, and is found floting in the water so fast.???? When you drown, your lungs fill with water. And you start to sink. After a few days you come up floting. If your found floting that fast. That means you had died before you hit the water. I pray ever night to the lord for him and his family, he was to retire in just weeks from when this happen,I sympathetic for the family wanting to put closure on this. But if it had bein my dad. I would have never let him sail all that distance alone,and I would want to know how did this happen and why did he die. I would get on a plane and fly down there the minute I was told that he had an accident. He was to good for this to have happened. Rest in peace Joseph Horgan. The lord is always with you.

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
    • Lani says:

      He was NOT sailing from the BVI to the US!!! He had repairs completed on it from the hurricane and was just testing the boat in local waters by the marina. Dont question my family!!! This was just a tragic ACCIDENT that his wife, my cousins, his brother, sisters, and entire family are devastated from. It is BEYOND me how people can ask such foolish questions when they DO NOT know the details, nor read the articles correctly.

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
      • Very concerned says:

        Lami, you don’t know what your talking about. The repairs were done, and he was going to sail home, by himself. I know cause joe said so. So some one in your family is lied to you. I’m wondering why they would do that???

        Like 2
        Dislike 1
        • Lani says:

          Again, you DON’T know what you are talking about. The repairs were complete and that is why he was out on the water testing the boat. It is a shame that my aunt and cousins have to read “opinions” such as yours. I understand people have the right to express their “opinions” or “theories” but they are irrelevant. My family is just trying to heal from this tragedy.

          Like 1
          Dislike 1
          • Very concerned says:

            Did I not say, that joe said so !!! I spoke with joseph Horgan before he left!!!! And he told me, all about the boat, and said he was going to B.V.I to sail it back home to his house in the keys. He also said that his wife, tobi, did not want to go. And he was retiring in a few weeks and moving to the keys for good. So once again lani, you don’t know what your talking about!!!!

            Like 1
            Dislike 1
    • to "very concerned" says:

      Then my father lied to YOU. He had a return flight from the BVI to FL on dec. 24th. He was scheduled to sail to a few nearby islands. He was taking the boat out for a test sail. It was damaged and he wanted to make sure it was fixed prior to paying the company that “fixed” it. They didn’t fix the boat when they first claimed they did, so my dad was rightfully skeptical. So to the ignorant person called “very concerned,” stop making stuff up. My father was never going to sail that distance by himself. It’s insulting to my father and to me that you would think he would do something so idiotic. I’d love to know who you are because your comment makes me think that you had something to do with his death. The BVI might have declared his death to be an “accident”, but my family and myself are looking further into the matter. We will find out the truth and will not rest until that person or those people get what they deserve.

    • hi. says:

      you are correct that he was going to live in the keys and that he was eventually going to sail the boat back to the U.S., but not without other people sailing with him. This trip was not for him to bring it back to the U.S. yet. This trip was for him to go sailing in the BVI only. You are correct that joe’s wife, tobi, did not want to go with him. Very sad.

  19. GWEN says:

    To the family I express my condolences.
    To those in government in the BVI who have authority to expedite this process please for once in your lives act with compassion and assist this family.
    All countries have laws,but there are also those people who created these laws who can be human.

    Keep in mind people around the world read your paper on line. Your actions are sending a message to others . Are we just good enough tourists to come to your island but if we happen to die in your island you are heartless and inhumane to our loved ones who are left behind?

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  20. dj says:

    sorry for your pain. you may love the BVI’s but you have now foundout THEY don’t really love you– love you money past years for sure.
    I get the examiner was gone til Jan. BVI people have no problem sending there serious sick to STT hospitals. Asking neighbor islands to help their people. No other island or USA could help– why cause they didn’t ask for it– after all NOT their family member.
    It’s not religous discrimination– if this person was black- you would have had body next day. Religion thrumps gov’t laws.— BVI don’t care.
    On second point. This man if he was testing out boat– really should not have been alone- maybe he wasn’t and that could and should be checked. some sketchy people hanging out at marina’s there in Tortola.
    Third- isn’t buck island partof ST croix? why wasn’t he brought to St Thomas or SJU? something not right here.

  21. jds says:

    my advice– get a private investigator there 2 weeks ago to protect your interest. There’s something rotten in this story and knowing the law people in BVI’s– they prtect their own– especially when criminality is concerned. If you been coming here for many years then you should know what I’m saying is true.
    Your loved one was not poor man. you should use your money to find and prserve the truth for Ur family.

  22. Very concerned says:

    Thank god there looking at this more closely. This man should never had died like this.. he was to good of a man to have whent like this. And why ??? Was he sailing alone back to Florida? ??? I pray for him every night. I have a lot of sympathy for the family, but I want to know for sure, How did this happen to him. Mae the good lord help the investigation to please find out the truth.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
    • To very concerned: I don’t know if you will see this but I am one of Joeys (Dr.Horgan) sisters. In this comment you asked “was he sailing alone back to Florida?” But on Jan.3rd, you said you spoke to my brother before he left and told you he was going to sail back home to the keys. So this is confusing to me. I thought you knew something until I reviewed again what you said on Dec. 30th. If you really know my brother, I would like to know who you are. I have been reviewing everything again because I want to know what happened to my brother. Nothing makes sense to me. My heart is broken and just want the truth(like all my family wants). I hope to hear from you. Thank you. says:

      Sister

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