Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Tragedy averted - Teen saved from raging Sandy Gully waters

Published:Thursday | October 15, 2020 | 12:16 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Assistant Superintendent Andrew Johnson looks on as 14-year-old Mikayla Anderson of Waterhouse in St Andrew is escorted to a police vehicle after being rescued by residents from floodwaters in the Sandy Gully yesterday. She had sought refuge on a concrete
Assistant Superintendent Andrew Johnson looks on as 14-year-old Mikayla Anderson of Waterhouse in St Andrew is escorted to a police vehicle after being rescued by residents from floodwaters in the Sandy Gully yesterday. She had sought refuge on a concrete slab in the middle of the gully as the water raged until she was rescued.
Waterhouse resident Antafari Ashman recalls how he and other community members rallied to rescue Mikayla Anderson yesterday.
Waterhouse resident Antafari Ashman recalls how he and other community members rallied to rescue Mikayla Anderson yesterday.
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Quick action from brave men in Waterhouse, St Andrew, yesterday saved the life of 14-year-old Mikayla Anderson after she got trapped on a landing in the middle of Sandy Gully, facing the threat of being washed away by raging waters from heavy rain.

Although it was residents who carried out the major part of the rescue effort, teams from the fire brigade, the police, and the military were on location as the incident unfolded around 2 p.m.

Residents had high praises for two soldiers who entered the floodwaters in an attempt to reach the girl but were dealt a raw deal by the circumstances.

Anderson, who was still consumed by shock when she spoke to The Gleaner yesterday, said she was trying to cross the gully when she was caught off guard by floodwaters.

“I was going over from the pig pen. Mi start walk inna di gully, but mi slide because the morass slippery and the gully looked as if it was coming down. Mi foot did feel like it a go wash weh, and because mi never wah wash weh, mi go pon di rock and hold on pon a tree. ... I was scared,” she shared, before turning to thank all those who came to her assistance.

With a broad smile, Antafari Ashman, a key member of the rescue team from the community, told The Gleaner that a strategy had to be devised fast to rescue the frightened girl.

“It was raining, and I hear dem seh a girl inna di gully a wash weh and mi go out deh and seh, ‘Father God, a wah dis?’” he said. “When mi reach, mi see seh di soldier dem nah go over deh. Mi go inna di water, but di water start move weh mi foot, but mi end up manage the pressure and cross it. The next bredda weh did deh deh wid mi, mi give her to him and him put har pon him back. Mi thank God she save and everything.”

Added Ashman: “Mi feel good all together fi know seh mi save a person life. Mi not even know har name. Mi only see har a road, but mi feel proud.”

Michelle Brown, a resident, heaped praises on the men and saluted the soldiers for their effort.

“When dem seh di likkle girl stuck inna di gully, we start call fi help, run go to the soldier dem. When the soldier dem come, di fire brigade come. You have some ghetto youth weh just run di risk. Fireman couldn’t save har. A di people dem save har. Di two soldier dem run dem risk. When dem go een, the water have them from side to side. Di man dem struggle, man,” Brown said.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Andrew johnson from the St Andrew South Division said the mission appeared impossible.

“We received a call after 2 p.m. from residents that a young girl had washed away in the Sandy Gully. I mobilised my teams and came along the gully bank,” he said.

“The young lady was seen in the middle of the gully, with raging water all around her. The situation was one that was really scary. We couldn’t see how she was going to be rescued because of the force of the water and the height as well. However, the residents eventually tied a rope and formed a human chain and went out into the middle of the gully and rescued the young girl. This is the kind of support we would want to see from communities, reaching out to persons who need help.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com