Journalists witness drowning death

Friday, July 22, 2016 - 20:00

Trinidad Guardian: What started off as an expedition at sea for members of the media investigating the recent fish kill at Mosquito Creek, yesterday morning, turned into a mission to rescue a drowning man from the same waters. 

However, by the time the body of the elderly man of East Indian descent was pulled from the water, little could be done to save his life. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the San Fernando General Hospital. 

The traumatic turn of events began around 9.05 am, on Saturday, while CNC3 cameraman Ivan Toolsie, CTV’s Che Teekasingh, and T&T Guardian’s reporter and photographer, Sharlene Rampersad and Rishi Ragoonath, were at the Creek, waiting to speak with Fisherman and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) secretary Gary Aboud, his research officer Alain Tang Choon and activist Edward Moodie.

Toolsie and Ragoonath spotted a man, who remained unidentified up until presstime, floating out to sea from beneath the Godineau bridge. The man appeared to be waving his hands for help, while bobbing up and down in the water. 

He was about 30 feet away from the shoreline at the time. 

Within minutes, the boat that was supposed to take the group out to sea arrived and the media personnel, along with Aboud, Tang Choon and Moodie, set off to try to find the man. 

Boat captain, Hosanie, followed the current and in about four minutes Teekasingh spotted the man floating face up in the water and called out to him. There was froth coming from his mouth and he was not responsive.

Moodie and Tang Choon quickly pulled his body into the boat and Moodie, who said he is CPR certified, began trying to save the man’s life. 

Aboud contacted an ambulance while Hosanie pointed the boat back to the shoreline. 

Moodie continued trying to resuscitate the man for over ten minutes before breaking down in exhaustion and grief. 

He wept openly for the man, calling on Allah to bless his soul. 

When the paramedics arrived, they attached a defibrillator to the man, whose body was still in the boat. They transferred him to the ambulance, before transporting him to the SFGH where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 

Police officers from the Oropouche Police Station responded and interviewed several people, including one man who claimed to have seen the victim jump off the bridge. 

The eyewitness, who identified himself only as Smallie from Princes Town, said he saw the victim jump off the right side of the bridge but did not think much of it. 

Smallie said he was fishing with his family and saw the man pass in the swirling water, before he disappeared in the open sea. 

Up until presstime, the man was not identified and Southern Division police have called on members of the public who may have any information on his identity to come forward. 

The man was of East Indian descent, appeared to be in his late 60’s and was wearing an olive green T-shirt with black stripes and a blue short pants. He was barefooted and had a greying moustache and short grey hair. 

San Fernando Police are continuing investigations.

Source: (Sharlene Rampersad)