Wed | Nov 21, 2018

More bodies - Nicole casualties climb Death toll:13

Published:Saturday | October 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Onlookers watch as the marine police fish the bodies of two victims of the Sandy Gully tragedy from the sea near Seaview Gardens in St Andrew yesterday. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter

The death toll from the heavy rain associated with what developed into Tropical Storm Nicole continues to climb as more bodies are fished from from flooded waterways and the sea.

Five more bodies were found yesterday, bringing the unofficial death toll to 13, with a further eight persons missing believed dead.

Yesterday morning brought an end to the search for 42-year-old William Bailey and his common-law-wife, 34-year-old Skeeta Young.

They were among six persons declared missing after a two-bedroom house in Sandy Park, St Andrew, collapsed into the Sandy Gully on Wednesday.

The bodies were fished from the sea near Seaview Gardens, St Andrew, shortly before 10 a.m. after they were spotted by residents.

Two other bodies were found later in the day, one at PetroJam off Spanish Town Road, and the other at the waterfront of the Kingston Wharf.

In Seaview Gardens, relatives on the scene had the difficult and painful task of identifying the bloated water-bleached bodies before watching from metres away as on-the-spot post-mortems were conducted.

Bailey and Young were the second and third bodies to be recovered from the collapsed house.

The body of Young's 14-year-old son, Kevani Bailey, trapped under the top floor of the collapsed building, was recovered on Wednesday.

One person from the Sandy Park incident remains missing and is feared among the dead.

Among the dead thus far are Anthony Parnell, Denzel Malcolm, and his nephew, Ryan Malcolm, who were crushed to death when a retaining wall collapsed on the shed where they were sleeping in Norbrook Heights.

Five-year-old Tashanna Wallace died when a tree fell on the house where she was sleeping in Christian Pen, St Catherine. The body of 68-year-old Lenford Blake was found in a drain on Thursday after he was swept away by strong currents in Flagaman district, St Elizabeth.

The body of 63-year-old farmer Rupert Wright of Piper Corner was found in Welcome, Westmoreland, yesterday morning after he was washed away on Wednesday.

The police have also recovered the bodies of two men believed to be of unsound mind who were swept away by the flood waters in Havendale, St Andrew. The police have so far officially confirmed the recovery of only one of those bodies.

The body, believed to be about 60 years old, is about 173 centimetres (5 ft 8 inches) long, of dark complexion, and was clad in a brown pant and blue shirt.

Up to late yesterday, there was no confirmation from the Constabulary Communication Network (CCN) of the recovery of the second body, but cops in the St Andrew North Division told our news centre that the two bodies had been found.

unofficial toll

With that list, The Gleaner's unofficial death count moved to 13, but late yesterday, CCN and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management put the death toll at seven while reporting that 14 persons were missing.

Among those missing is 81-year-old Robert Johnson, who was reportedly washed away in the Gobey Gully on Thursday morning.

Residents said Johnson had gone to use the toilet when he slipped and was washed away by the raging water.

"Is just the residents alone looking for him. We don't see any officials coming to help with the search," a resident of Riversdale told The Gleaner.

"We found some of his clothes but we don't find him yet," the resident said after more rain caused them to postpone the search yesterday afternoon.