Sat | Jul 20, 2019

Family hurts as 12-y-o drowns at St Thomas beach

Published:Monday | July 8, 2019 | 12:20 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Residents gather at the Lyssons Beach yesterday, where the body of 12-year-old Oshane Crawford was found after he disappeared while bathing at the nearby Diamond beach on Saturday.
Residents gather at the Lyssons Beach yesterday, where the body of 12-year-old Oshane Crawford was found after he disappeared while bathing at the nearby Diamond beach on Saturday.

Lyssons, St Thomas:

A St Thomas family is now hurting following the confirmation of their worst fears yesterday afternoon as the body of 12-year-old Oshane Crawford of Dumfries in the parish was fished from the Lyssons Beach after he disappeared on Saturday.

Marking today as the day she would have taken her son to finalise plans for him to become a student athlete at Morant Bay High School in the parish, Ketesha Wilson told The Gleaner that she was just celebrating his achievements and looking forward with great expectancy for a bright future for him.

“[Last] Tuesday, we were all at his graduation at Lyssons Primary – a wonderful graduation, where he made me feel so happy. He’s an athlete and he got awards for both track and field and football. Just Friday, I took him to take his passport-size photos and to get a reference letter written to take up to the school tomorrow (Monday),” she told The Gleaner before being overcome by grief.

Recounting the events leading up to the demise of his youngest brother, 18-year-old Raymond Crawford told The Gleaner that the family had no idea that Oshane had gone to the beach.

“About six of them (boys) were playing cricket outside, and when they were done, he asked if he could go home with one of his friends. They are good friends and live close enough, so my mother gave him the permission to go and told him not to stay late,” Raymond said.

“Apparently, the friend’s mother and another adult were planning to go to the beach and the boys went with them,” he added, explaining that that area of the beach, which is below a bridge, is not ideal for swimming and is usually used by fishermen.

went back into water

Continuing, Raymond said, “I get to understand that they were done swimming and apparently getting ready to leave when the three little boys, including my brother, decided to go hold a quick wash-off and come back, not to the knowledge of the adults.”

They began experiencing difficulties some time after 5 p.m. and were spotted by a group of four men who were partying nearby. The men managed to save two of the boys before the third disappeared in the rough seas.

Raymond said that his mother, who was in a taxi heading in the direction to where the incident happened, overheard a call that another passenger received that three boys had drowned at sea.

“She said suddenly she felt a bad feeling and asked the driver to stop, but he didn’t, so she opened the door and jumped out the moving car into the middle of the road and ran to the sea,” he said.

She kept asking if it was her child and no one answered until one of her friends hugged her and confirmed the tragedy.

“The mother who took them to sea only came up to us to say condolences and that we should stay strong, but I don’t think that’s enough because she didn’t ask consent, and now mi brother gone. To be honest, I don’t even know what I want, if it’s an apology or what ... . It’s just hard to swallow the death,” he added, noting that neither he nor his mother had slept since Saturday night and that the family had to be monitoring her blood pressure.

The Marine Police and JDF Coast Guard, assisted by local fishermen, had been forced to discontinue their search-and-rescue efforts several times because of poor visibility and bad weather conditions.

A photographer was among the four men who ran to the assistance of the boys on Saturday. Yesterday, he returned to the beach with his drone and was able to spot the 12-year-old’s body, which had been washed some distance away to the Lyssons Beach.

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