Thu | Feb 22, 2018

Canadians rescued from floodwaters

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels
Almost covered by the floodwaters is the home and property of Henry Blair, and his son, Dwayne. The men were trapped for two hours in the ceiling of the home, located in Palmetto Pen, Clarendon, on Saturday.
Palmetto Pen, Clarendon, on Saturday.

Two Jamaica-born Canadians had to be rescued from their home in Palmetto Pen, Clarendon, on Saturday evening after they were marooned inside by floodwaters.

In a dramatic rescue effort by two neighbours, a senior citizen, who owns the property, and his son were taken from the ceiling, where they sought refuge from the rapidly rising waters.

The neighbours had to swim through water about 10 feet high to rescue the men, who were visiting from Canada. The men, who were in Jamaica to attend a funeral, said that they had been in the house for about two hours before help came.

"When the water started gushing in, my father said we gotta jump up in the roof because we had nowhere else to go, and the water was coming in from all sides. There was no way out!" said Dwayne Blair, who explained that he used his cell phone to call a relative, and that was how persons came to know that two people were inside the house.

The 67-year-old homeowner, Henry Blair, said that he had never seen or experienced anything like it before.

"Right now, it's like I don't have any feeling," he said, fighting back tears. "We came to attend a funeral, and we, too, could have lost our lives. My son almost drowned because when he was pulling me up, he lost his balance and was coming back into the water full force, but he managed to grab on to something and I helped to pull him back into the ceiling. I went out to the veranda and made a hole, and while I was looking out, I saw a gentleman at the grille calling if anyone was inside," recalled Blair of his traumatic ordeal.

"I was so happy and relieved when they came for us because I didn't know we were going to make it out alive. Even though we lost everything, we are OK. Material things don't bother us. We still have life," he said.


Good Samaritans saved the day


Owen Taylor is one of the men who rescued the Canadians. "We were inside church and it was raining. Then wi si a 40-foot metal container came and stop over the drain, so the water wasn't running out fast enough, so it started to rise. Immediately, we tried to relocate the persons out of the church. While on the roof of the church, someone told me two people in the house next door, and he gave me the key."

Taylor said that he sought help and they opened the grille and swam inside, where they saw the men in the ceiling.

"I explained to them what we intend to do and tell them to follow instructions and we will get them out. They did, and we got them out safely," he said.

George Wilson, who helped Taylor to rescue the men, told The Gleaner that he was pleased to be able to help the men.