Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Bodies found in cave, Dunbeholden men remembered as hard workers

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2016 | 8:00 AMRasbert Turner
A relative of one of the three men who died in a cave in the Salt Pond Hills tries to view the bodies inside the cave.
Police, firemen, and family members hike to the cave in the Salt Pond Hills where the three men died.

Residents of Dunbeholden in Portmore, St Catherine, are mourning the loss of three of their own.

The bodies of Richard King, Alfred 'Fred' Suckan, and McGray 'Ed' Surgeon were removed from a cave in the Salt Pond area by fire personnel yesterday afternoon.

The men had gone to the cave to pump water for their agricultural produce on the weekend.

Yesterday morning, even as rains and winds from Tropical Storm Earl troubled the area, residents and family members gathered outside the cave, waiting for police and fire personnel to remove the bodies. To access the bodies, persons had to navigate a roughly three-mile trek into the deeply wooded area where cacti, wild cane, cassia, and wild pine grow.

Relatives lamented the lengthy period it took for the authorities to remove the bodies from the scene.

"It is from Friday that this happened, and all now. It is a very sad thing, as they were very decent persons and deserve better from the authorities," said Janet Malcolm, a relative of King's.

The police say the men died after inhaling fumes from the pump. A fourth man, who residents say is named Sheldon Henderson, was able to escape the cave. Up to press time, he was still recuperating at Spanish Town Hospital.

Back in Dunbeholden, Sherdon McDonald, who usually goes to the cave with the quartet, had mixed emotions. While grieving for his neighbours and friends, he was happy to be alive.

"A because mi neva have nuh money why mi neva go wid dem dis time, you know," he said.

"'Cause if mi did go, maybe all me woulda dead to."


He said the men usually came back the same day, but this trip was different.

"Dem jus' start fi camp out yah now," he said.

"But 'bout Saturday night, we start worry 'cause none a dem nuh come fi water or nutten. Trust me, di vibes dead roun' here. Everybody feel it."

Among the most vocal was Roy Hardial, who lived next door to Ed. He said he had had a bad feeling when the men did not return, as "dem man deh nuh sleep out".

"He was a nice guy and a good guy. Him was like a bredda to me," he said, noting that, in addition to being a farmer, Ed would do odd jobs for anyone.

"Is a sad day. Dem man deh nuh mek war, dem nuh go nuh weh."

He pointed to an open lot where Ed was going to start building a home.

"We never look fi dem dead so," he lamented. "But still, a nuh nobody kill dem. God knows best."