BVI News

Heart attacks the leading cause of tourist deaths in BVI, not drowning

This ‘BVI’ sculpture is located at the Cyril B Romney Tortola Pier Park.

Officials in the BVI have clarified that heart attacks, not drowning, are the leading cause of tourist fatalities in the territory.

Albert Wheatley, Visitor Support Coordinator for the BVI Tourist Board and Film Commission, highlighted that many of these incidents are linked to underlying health issues rather than accidents at sea.

During a recent event at Oil Nut Bay, Wheatley explained that most victims are older male tourists, particularly white males aged 65 to 85. He stated, “Most incidents are heart-related, not drowning. Vacationing is a lot of work on the body. Most of these people do not exercise on a regular basis at home — number one. Number two, they are not aware of the state of their heart and their arteries.”

Wheatley detailed the contributing factors to these tragic events, noting that the excitement of vacation, exposure to the intense BVI sun, alcohol consumption, and physical activity such as swimming, place significant stress on the heart. “Because of all those factors, it does not take a lot if their heart rate goes up beyond where it normally goes. It (the heart) just does not, cannot get the oxygen it needs to feed the body, so it shuts down,” Wheatley shared.

“BVI sun is different from American sun; American sun does play. Down here, this sun don’t play with you,” he added.

The primary cause of death, according to Wheatley, is acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack, caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). This condition results from plaque buildup in the coronary arteries, which blocks blood flow to the heart muscle, causing damage or death to part of the heart muscle.

In addition to heart attacks, other causes of death include sudden cardiovascular death due to hypertensive cardiovascular disease and, less frequently, drowning due to asphyxiation from inhaling water. Wheatley noted that while lifeguards are often called for, they cannot always prevent these deaths as they cannot intervene quickly enough during a heart attack.


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  1. Wow says:

    I didn’t know that he was a doctor or some medical expert

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    • @Wow says:

      Well he’s definitely not an astronomer.

      • @@Wow says:

        How did you determine that with certainty? Lots of people are amateur astronomer and could just as well be a musician or anything else for all the info stated in the article.

    • He dosent have to be says:

      Not being a Dr. does not disqualify him from getting accurate data from a qualified source and communicating it to the general public. I am not a Chef but i can cook a decent meal by following a recipe.

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  2. Eldread says:

    I have always contended that a warning sign should be place at the ports of entry concerning swimming in salt water and it’s bouyancy, because 90% of these tourist live inland on those continents and have never been in the sea water, so swimming in lakes is different than sea water.

    Like 7
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    • @ Eldred says:

      The sign could just as well say that due to limitations in medical services in the Territory, no outsiders be allowed in since they could die here, but that since they’ve come to support the local economy, it would be safer if they just left their money in the boxes provided and return home immediately where they can be properly looked after should they die.

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  3. Too vague says:

    The spokesperson for the BVITB is very thin on the facts in this article. How many tourist fatalities every year for the last 50 years would be a good staring point. Followed by an annual breakdown of every tourist death with the COD, age, sex, location in the BVI, etc.

    Articles like the above are just opinions if no facts are presented to support the statements.

  4. Yes Mr Minister says:

    The Minister may be correct but what he does not say is why so many heart attacks occur while here on vacation.

    Could it be the result of sudden shock at seeing the cost of food in the BVI

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  5. Really says:

    No surprise since the covid mark of the beast shot was issued. Everyone even babies have heart attacks now. I am so shock that you all can’t see this plandemic for what it is.

  6. LIFEGUARD says:

    But you are less likely to survive even a very mild heart attack if you are in the water.

    A lifeguard might well get to someone before they have the heart attack, professional lifeguards also intervene preventing people getting into difficulties in the first place.

    Like 3
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  7. of course says:

    of course anyone will be scared to death.. coming to visit paradise and meeting a hell hole.. bush, bad roads, high prices etc

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