Jamaica: Student, soldier swept away by strong tides while swimming

Undertakers carry the body of 26-year-old Jamaica Defence Force soldier Joseph Anderson after it was recovered from the sea at Frenchman’s Bay in Treasure Beach yesterday. Anderson and 26-year-old Northern Caribbean University student , identified by police as Kevon Gayle and by schoolmates as Karanjah Gayle, drowned after they went swimming on New Year’s Eve. Yesterday, the police said sharks prevented the recovery of Gayle’s body. (Photos: Gregory Bennett)

(Jamaica Observer) Police say sharks hindered the recovery yesterday of the body of a 26-year-old Northern Caribbean University (NCU) student — one of two beachgoers who drowned at Frenchman’s Bay in Treasure Beach, about 20 miles south of here, on New Year’s Eve.

The second body, that of 26-year-old Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier Joseph Anderson, was recovered in mid-morning by fishermen.

However, the body of the NCU student, identified by police as Kevon Gayle and by schoolmates as Karanjah Gayle, remained underwater, 30 metres offshore. Divers were unable to enter the water to retrieve the body because of sharks, police say.

A police spokesman told the Jamaica Observer late yesterday that in addition to shark infestation, recovery was made difficult by “very choppy seas”.

This sign warns people to avoid swimming in the sea at Treasure Beach due to high surf and/or strong current. Residents say the two men who drowned on Monday ignored the warning.

It’s expected that the JDF Coastguard and the Marine Police will continue efforts to retrieve the remains today.

Police say the two friends drowned at about 3:20 pm Monday after they went swimming off the beach at Frenchman’s Bay. They experienced difficulties and were swept away by strong tides which are prevalent off Jamaica’s south coast.

Residents of Treasure Beach complained yesterday that visitors such as Gayle and Anderson often go swimming in “no swim” areas, without consulting with locals. In the latest case they say the two men went swimming despite signs warning people to stay out of the water.

Drownings are a common occurrence during holiday time at popular south coast spots such as Treasure Beach and Alligator Pond.

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