Dive instructor murdered on yacht in the Bahamas
by Risa Merl
In a brutal attack, a British man working as a diving instructor in the Bahamas was murdered when his yacht was boarded by two men during an armed robbery.
Gary Vanhoeck and his wife, Kathryn, were on board their sailboat, moored in a secluded waterway behind Stuart Cove’s dive centre on the northwest end of the island of New Providence. The island is home to the Bahamian capital city of Nassau.
Upon boarding the boat late at night on May 1, the robbers reportedly demanded money. They then tied up Kathryn in one of the yacht’s cabins and took Vanhoeck to the dock, where he was shot twice in the head. The gunmen fled on foot at around 10pm. Kathryn was physically unharmed, but her husband was pronounced dead on the scene.
Gary Vanhoeck and his wife were unarmed and the boat was unsecured. Why this attempted robbery had to end in murder is still a question. Police have yet to make any arrests, but are investigating four men in connection with the murder.
Vanhoeck had moved to the Bahamas five years prior, giving up his computer technician job to retrain as a dive instructor. On his blog, he wrote, “To pack up ones home, say goodbye to work, family and friends, head halfway around the world to start a new life teaching diving! Will it be a dream or the biggest mistake you ever made? Who knows, but unless you try it you will always ask, ‘If only I had...’.”
This is the 48th murder to occur in the Bahamas this year and the second involving a British citizen in the last 13 months.
Obie Wilchombe, the Bahamas minister of tourism, told the local Bahamian Tribune, “There is a lot of concern about the crime situation. The Bahamas has a wonderful reputation and despite the difficulty we have with crime, we maintain the reputation that generally we are a crime-free society. What we now have to do is spend all efforts ensuring that we are not led by that image.”