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Two liveaboard cruisers are missing, feared dead, after their catamaran Simplicity was apparently stolen during a prison escape in the Caribbean.

Two liveaboard cruisers, Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, are missing feared dead after their catamaran Simplicity was apparently stolen during a prison escape in the Caribbean.

Hendry and Brandel’s 48ft St. Francis catamaran Simplicity had been anchored in in Grand Anse bay, Grenada, but was discovered off St Vincent, apparently abandoned with torn sails. AIS data shows the vessel left Grenada at around 2200hrs on Sunday 18 February.

Three Grenadian suspects are known to have escaped from police custody on February 18. They were rearrested on Wednesday, February 21 on St. Vincent by members of Grenada’s Narcotics and Rapid Response Units.

Simplicity was discovered in Walliabou, on the western coast of St Vincent, the same day by another cruiser, who boarded the vessel and noted that its owners were not onboard.

The St. Vincent Coast Guard has taken possession of Simplicity and the St. Vincent police are currently investigating with the U.S Embassy and the Grenada police department. The Royal Grenada Police Force issued a statement saying that the force was ‘currently working on leads that suggest that the two occupants of the yacht may have been killed in the process.’

The St Vincent Times has reported that bloodstains were found on the interior.

The three men, aged 19-30, were in custody having been charged with violent offences, two charged jointly with Robbery with Violence.

Veteran cruisers missing

Ralph Hendry and Kathy Brandel, image via Salty Dawg Sailing Association

Hendry and Brandel were members of the Salty Dawg Sailing Association and had been living and cruising aboard Simplicity for a decade. The couple joined the Caribbean Rally for their passage from Virginia, USA to Antigua last October and cruised the Caribbean over the winter.

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association described them as ‘veteran cruisers and long-time members’ and ‘warm hearted and capable’.

A joint statement by their families said: “We want to reach out to the entire cruiser community to express our gratitude for everyone that worked to gather information from eyewitnesses and provide search and rescue support. It means so much to us that so many people cared for Ralph and Kathy as friends and fellow cruisers that they are willing to stop and help in whatever way possible.

“Thanks to all this input from this community we are able to develop a timeline of events. For the safety of the cruising community we are asking all cruisers, and anyone that is not affiliated with the officials with presiding jurisdiction, to stand down. The only way we feel this situation could be worse would be if anyone was hurt or endangered trying to conduct searches.

“We also want to applaud the St. Vincent authorities for their quick actions in securing Simplicity and their brave, swift response that led to the apprehension of three dangerous fugitives. We greatly appreciate the coordination of the St. Vincent and Royal Grenadian Police forces and Coast Guards in investigating these events.”

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