Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Trelawny tragedy - Family shaken as former Holland High head boy disappears underwater

Published:Monday | November 16, 2015 | 11:00 AM

What was supposed to be an exciting day of recreation for three young friends turned into a nightmare for one Trelawny family yesterday.

Twenty-year-old Hugh Smith, former head boy of Holland High School, was out fishing with friends in Falmouth about 11:30 a.m. when he disappeared underwater.

"He was in the water. The water reached him at his waist, and they just saw when he went down - like there was a soft spot there - and he didn't come up back," his mother, 53-year-old Valerie Plummer, told The Gleaner yesterday.

The incident has shaken the family, Plummer said, adding that the basketball star's older brother is taking the news very hard.

Reflecting on the son she called her heartbeat, between sobs, Plummer said Smith was very jovial, quiet and friendly, and was loved by everyone in his home community of Hague and at his former high school.

One of Smith's friends, former schoolmate, Enrique McLaughlin, said he was respected by everyone.

"He always showed support for his friends and was always giving us jokes," he said.

"Everyone enjoyed his company - teachers, students, everyone."

So exemplary was his conduct that he served Holland High as deputy head boy two years ago before returning as head boy last school year.

As news of the tragedy spread, several of Smith's friends and former schoolmates turned to his Facebook page to express shock at the tragedy.

A search launched yesterday, which was called off as night fell, only turned up a pair of goggles Smith had with him. It is expected to resume this morning, but Plummer is not anticipating any good news.