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10-year-old tries unsuccessfully to save 8-year-old brother

10-year-old tries unsuccessfully to save 8-year-old brother

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When 10-year-old Jaafaan May saw his eight-year-old brother Jacquan May being swept away by a raging body of water, he did not hesitate to try to save his sibling’s life; after all, the two were very close.

Unfortunately, Jaafaan couldn’t hold onto Jacquan and both were swept out to sea. Jaafaan was eventually rescued, but up to press time, the younger brother could not be found, presumed swallowed by the waters of Roucher Bay, Campden Park.

The boys were playing near to one of the many tributaries that feed into Roucher Bay. According to one of the boy’s neighbours, this particular tributary is a small stream that usually swells during heavy rainfall, but when things are normal, gives no hint of what it can do.{{more}} The boys’ family had just moved into the area the day before and did not know about the deadly potential of the stream that ran behind their new home.

On Wednesday, hours after a surface trough system dumped seven inches of rain on the country, causing landslides and flooding, Shaoma Baptiste, the mother of Jacquan and Jaafaan, fought to contain her grief, while standing outside the Paediatric Ward of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) where her eldest son was warded.

Holding another of her sons, Jomar, in her arms, Shaoma said that on Wednesday morning at around 8:10, her sons told her that they were hungry.

The night before, the family had moved into Shaoma’s uncle’s house in the Campden Park Industrial Estate, because the house that they were living in would usually flood when heavy rains came.

According to Shaoma, when the boys said that they were hungry, she sent them to a nearby shop to buy sausages and when they returned, Jacquan said that he wanted to have a bath.

“I tell him go wash off because the pipe close to the house, so Jaafaan decide he want to bathe too, so two ah them go outside,” recalled Shaoma painfully.

She said that she could hear the boys talking outside, but after a while, she could not hear their voices, so went outside to check on them and was told by a younger child that the boys had gone into the river.

“I never to know them done reach in the back,” said Shaoma who revealed that when Jaafaan was rescued, he explained to her that Jacquan had placed his foot in the water “to test it” and ended up being pulled in.

“He said that when the water pulled Jacquan, he decided he going save him and two ah them end up and wash way,” said Shaoma, after which she broke down in tears.

She said that Jaafaan’s kneecaps were knocked out of place during the ordeal that saw him being swept over half a mile from the back of his home into a muddy Roucher Bay.

Thankful that she did not lose both sons, but shaken up by the loss of one, Shaoma said that a Campden Park resident saw Jaafaan calling for help on the beach and helped the young man to safety, after which he was taken to the MCMH by the police.

“When I saw him, he said he brother didn’t die. He said he had him and could not hold on anymore, but he didn’t die,” said Shaoma, who at that point had not yet told Jaafaan that his brother’s body was not recovered.

“The way how I feel, I can’t talk much, much less to if I been lose the two ah them,” said the mother of five, who thinks that she ran from a flooding situation at her former home to meet a worse situation at her uncle’s house.

Describing her son, Shaoma said, “he was a loving person who you could send anywhere. He had his way, but he was a good son.”

The boys’ grandmother Hazell-Ann Lynch, who was also at the MCMH visiting Jaafaan, said Jacquan was a loving grandson to her.

Hazell-Ann revealed that Jacquan would always tell her about dreams he was having and they would talk about a lot of different things.

“I really miss him a lot; he was so loving,” said Hazell-Ann, who had spoken to Jacquan the day before on Tuesday, November 9.

“He ask me for a dollar, but I told him I did not have, but then I send somebody to buy something for them; that was the last time I see him,” said Hazell-Ann crying.

Jacquan was a Grade 3 pupil of the Lowmans Leeward Anglican School, while Jaafaan is a Grade 5 student of the same institution.

Jacquan was one of two boys who died as a result of flash flooding on Wednesday, with 11-year-old Phillip Compton of Paget Farm, Bequia being the other boy who was killed by flood waters. (LC)

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