Three men are all feared drowned after the boat they were travelling in sank in stormy waters of the Essequibo River on Thursday.
Sherwin Haynes, 29, of One Mile Wismar, Norman Newton, also known as ‘Mehroo’ of Squatting Area Blue Berry Hill, and Junior Nurse, also known as ‘Ital Sap’ of Leonora, are all believed to have drowned.
The mishap occurred shortly after 1:00pm, as the men were travelling across the river from the Omai Landing area, in the midst of a storm.
In addition to the three men, there were five others aboard as well as the captain, who were all preparing to return to Linden today.
Troy Haynes, who was a passenger on the boat with his missing brother Sherwin, said that at the time the water was very high and rough and it was stormy and there were no life jackets on the boat. He explained that throughout the journey the boat captain, Ronnel Fraser of Victory Valley, Wismar, Linden, was constantly bailing the boat. “He keep bailing all the time but then a big wave come and the boat end up going down from the back,” he said, recounting the experience.
He said that as they struggled in the rough water, he noticed his brother swimming away and he called out to him, asking why he was leaving him.
Sherwin then told him to let go of the boat and hold on to his bag. “I did what he told me to do and I find I start floating because I couldn’t swim but then I find the bag couldn’t handle my body weight and I grab hold of another bag that was in the water and that it start floating me backward and eventually I reach land,” he added.
With watery eyes, Troy said throughout the episode he was in communication with his brother and the other passengers of the boat but lost sight of him after he reached land.
He also recalled that Nurse’s pregnant wife was also caught in the disaster. “Junior keep ducking and coming up and pushing he wife towards land, he keep ducking and coming up all the time, fighting to get the wife to land. But when she near reach, he duck again and we ain’t see he come up,” the man added. The pregnant woman made it to shore alive but experienced fainting spells while being transported to the Linden Hospital where she remains a patient.
Meanwhile, Newton went missing immediately after the boat went down. It was believed that the heavy long boots he was wearing at the time affected his ability to swim. His mother, Princess Newton, 58, was at the Wismar Hospital last night in the company of several neighbours. She said that earlier in the evening she received word that the bodies were found and were being transported to Linden. However, up to press time no bodies had arrived at the hospital’s mortuary.
Princess said that she got word of the incident from a friend and checks with the local police confirmed the story.
She said that the man is a father of eight, all of whom are hoping to wake up this morning and hear that he is alive.
The family and relatives of Sherwin Haynes too remained optimistic that he might be alive somewhere down the river, from where the incident occurred. “We hearing all sorts of stories,” said his sister, “but we still believe that he deh somewhere alive.”
The men were working as pork-knockers in an area called “Granny Backdam.”