3 Houston-area residents drown in Turks and Caicos; 2 children survive

HOUSTON – Three Houston-area residents drowned in the Atlantic Ocean while vacationing in Turks and Caicos, the island's police department said.

What happened

In a post to its Facebook page, the Commissioner of Police said the five tourists got into difficulties in the water, although that post did not clarify what those difficulties were. 

Who were the victims?

His travels took him around the world, including this mission trip to Guatemala in April 2018 with the spring mission team. 

A friend of Dr. Richard Okoloise told KPRC that he loved to travel, loved medicine, too, and if you met him, even for a few seconds, he'd leave you with a smile. 

Okoloise was vacationing in Turks and Caicos when he and a couple drowned. The couple's 15-year-old daughter and Okoloise's daughter survived the incident.

The couple's relative confirmed the victims were 33-year-old Irma Barrera and partner, 38-year-old Roy Perez, both from Lake Jackson. 

Barrera worked as a nurse. 

What are Turks and Caicos officials saying?

The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force confirmed it responded to the drownings Monday afternoon, off of Bambarra Beach, Middle Caicos. 

KPRC2 has contacted the U.S. Coast Guard, which assisted in the recoveries. 

Seems this has proven tough for first responders in the British Territory, too. 

Turks and Caicos’ Police Commissioner said, "Out of tragedy often comes strength and a heroic effort from those responding at a time of desperate need." 

Medical community mourns local doctor

On Monday night, friends in Houston's medical community are sharing their condolences, calling Okoloise an excellent emergency medicine physician and a loving father. 

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