Family of teens that vandalized the Elbow Reef Lighthouse apologized and assured the Preservation Society that repair expenses will be taken care of.
On Saturday, July 18, teenagers were spotted climbing to the upper level of the lighthouse (which can only be accessed by climbing on the outside of the lighthouse) and Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society (ERLS) member Kent Labouttier was notified.
“They were seen running around the lower gallery and upper gallery and they were also seen throwing something off the gallery,” said Mrs. Labouttier. “We didn’t know what it was at first but later we discovered that it was the crank handle (that winds the gears that turns the light).”
On approach to the lighthouse three teens (two girls and one boy) were seen leaving, and as they got closer another two boys left the area behind the keeper’s house. By the time they realized it the teens had left the area by boat.
It was discovered that a winder and pump handle were missing, and a window at the top of the lighthouse had been broken. Three jacks (used for lifting the bowl containing the mercury) were found in the yard below. Later the winder was found in behind the lighthouse; however the handle was not recovered.
It was discovered that the teens were on a boat that was part of a flotilla visiting the island; however, efforts to catch up with them before they returned to the United States proved fruitless.
Chair of the ERLS, Lory Kenyon said that days later they finally received a response from a family member on the flotilla who was very apologetic.
“First please accept my apology for being the Captain of my vessel and allowing teenagers to enter the Lighthouse,” he said. “Both teenagers will be liable for any damages done to the Lighthouse and also they will write an apology letter to the Lighthouse Society.”
He said that “we have to teach our children to respect and appreciate the beauty of history monuments, not to destroy it! I hope this will be a learning experience for my crew.”
“[My] Family apologizes to the Abaco residents for any inconvenience they have caused.” He concluded.