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Youth drowns at Brighton Salt Pond

Youth drowns at Brighton Salt Pond

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A trip to the beach on Saturday, January 19, ended in tragedy for 19-year-old Preston Browne when he lost his life, despite the best efforts of others on the beach.{{more}}

Browne, a trainee air traffic controller for just over four months, was swimming at the Brighton Salt Pond Beach with a friend, when he apparently began experiencing difficulties at about 5:40 p.m.

“I noticed two persons far out in the water. I didn’t think anything was strange until I saw a man jump into the water, swim out and throw a tube for them,” one eyewitness told Searchlight.

The young eyewitness, who had been jogging on the beach, said that the man who had taken the tube into the water, assisted by the man with whom Browne had been swimming, brought Browne to shore through the rough waters. “There were tsunami type waves,” the young man described.

“When they brought him to shore, I checked his pulse; he was alive. His friend started pumping his chest, but he seemed to be tired, so I took over…. We rolled him to his side, his heart was beating really quickly, then he started biting his tongue. We pumped his chest for about 10 to 15 minutes. None of us knew how to perform CPR properly, and we didn’t want to take the chance of doing it incorrectly.

“We called the hospital, but they said the ambulance had gone on another call, so a lady who was on the beach asked the person at the hospital to tell her how to do CPR. She did this for a while, then we placed him in a car that took him to the hospital. I told his friend not to stop pumping his chest.”

According to police reports, Browne was pronounced dead on arrival at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

“Young people should be trained as life guards, and stationed at local beaches especially on weekends,” is the recommendation of the 16-year-old schoolboy who tried in vain to save Browne.

Browne’s mother Joye-Ann told Searchlight that she is trying to be strong and is putting her trust in God to see her through. Preston was her first born. Joye-Ann has one other child, a seven-year-old boy.

Browne was a former student of the St. Vincent Grammar School and the A level College. He was also an active member of the Brighton Methodist Youth Group.

One of the group’s members recalled fondly, “Preston was a really good friend, very quiet and humble. Anything you asked him to do, he was always willing and ready to help out in the church,” she said.

A post mortem was expected to have been performed on Preston on Wednesday. He will be laid to rest tomorrow, Saturday, after a funeral service at the Brighton Methodist Church.

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