Several months after Finnish national Ari Roksa died while snorkeling at Cinnamon Bay, new details are emerging that may point to the cause of his death.
Upon reading a St. John Tradewinds article online regarding the VINP’s efforts to obtain her husband’s autopsy report, Ari Roksa’s wife, Heli Roksa, contacted the newspaper to share possible insight into the cause of her husband’s death.
Although Ari Roksa knew how to swim and was in perfect health, Heli Roksa recalled her husband complaining about pain in his leg following the couple’s long flight from Finland.
“We’d had a long flight, some 20 hours, from Finland, and I noticed my husband rubbing his leg a couple of times during the week,” Heli Roksa wrote in an e-mail to Tradewinds. “He also said to me that very morning that his leg was hurting. He never mentioned it later, but only four hours later he was dead.”
Ari Roksa was found around 11 a.m. on April 27, approximately 50 to 70 yards offshore at Cinnamon Bay, with his snorkel tube underwater. Those who pulled him from the water noticed a blue discoloration on his left leg in his groin and thigh area, according to Heli Roksa, who admitted the symptoms seem to point to some type of blood clot.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot in a deep vein which generally affects the legs, can be caused by long periods of inactivity, according to www.webmd.com.
“Blood clots can form in veins when you are inactive,” according to the Web site. “For example, clots can form if you are paralyzed or bedridden or must sit while on a long flight or car trip.”
The clot can break loose and travel to vital organs, requiring immediate medical care. DVT can also cause death.
The V.I. National Park, which originally believed Ari Roksa had simply drowned, was unaware of the problems he experienced with his leg prior to his death.
“It doesn’t surprise me (VINP Chief Ranger) Mr. (Mark) Marschall didn’t know about the discomfort my husband had in his leg,” Heli Roksa wrote. “I didn’t pay any attention to it as I was there on the island for about 24 hours after my husband died. I was in shock and definitely couldn’t think clearly.”
“It took days, if not a week, for me to even remember it, and another week to realize it really may be important,” Heli Roksa added.
Marschall is still awaiting the results of Ari Roksa’s autopsy. An autopsy was done in Finland as well, and Heli Roksa is awaiting those results as well.
The most striking detail in her husband’s death was his snorkel mask, Heli Roksa explained.
“The most important fact is that he had his mask on when they found him,” she wrote. “I find it very hard to believe he got panicked, realized he was drowning and didn’t take the mask off. If he had realized he was drowning, his first reaction would have been to remove the mask and snorkel from his face to gasp for air.”
Although Heli Roksa believes a blood clot may have killed her husband, the agony of not knowing for sure continues to disturb her.
“These past three months have been like hell to me, and not knowing anything about what happened hasn’t made it any easier,” she wrote. “There are many things that have made me wonder what really happened. I definitely don’t believe he just drowned.”