ALLIGATOR POND, Manchester — The family of a Manchester man, Wayne Watson, 34, who recently rescued at least five people from drowning at a beach here have been left puzzled after his body was found in a mangrove, two days after he reportedly went swimming there.
His father, Wade Watson, told the Jamaica Observer that the circumstances surrounding the death have left relatives in disbelief.
“He was a great swimmer, so me nuh know wah gwan. Me couldn’t believe seh him drown. When me go me find him slippers, the rum weh him did a drink and a cigarette,” the senior Watson said on Monday.
When Wayne didn’t return home on Friday evening his family wasn’t worried that he was in danger. “Because we never a look for this. One time him did go way for three days,” said his father.
However, a late night dream frightened the senior Watson as he suspected that his son drowned.
“Saturday about midnight him [Wayne] dream me. Him never have on nuh shirt and him mouth shut. Me get up from them hours and start bawl. By the morning me a say him dead. Him shoulda come back already,” said the father.
Wayne reportedly was assisting workers on a construction site in a section of Alligator Pond referred to as Barkidare in Compound on Friday when he decided to go for a swim in a mangrove, a few metres from the site.
“When he left from there he told them that he was going to get a jump off in the water up at the head part of the river,” said the father.
“Is under the mangrove we find him, so we got a boat and haul him out. A from Friday we miss him. Me cyaa seh a nobody do him nothing. Me have to wait,” added the grief-stricken father.
He described his son as sociable and hard-working.
“A good youth in the community. Everybody rate him. Nobody don’t have anything bad to say about him. More time me come check him and me and him carry marl. A pure bawling from him dead. Nobody cyaah sleep,” said the father.
Wayne was described as a hero following his efforts to rescue people from drowning in Alligator Pond.
“Me feel good to know that him save people, but to find out how him get fi drown is strange, because him a swimmer. Me nuh know how him drown. Only thing could happen to him is if him collapse, because he was working and the heat in his body when he went into the water. I am waiting on the autopsy. Me cyaah seh it look fishy. I am just puzzled. Me feel traumatised, especially after me go see him,” said the senior Watson.
On Monday, August 7, Wayne Watson, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, explained that the Alligator Pond Beach has a sea and a river. He said locals warn visitors to use the river for recreation like swimming, but not to venture into the sea.
“This sea, when it comes to this time, it takes a lot of lives and we don’t want anyone’s lives to take now because a lot of people are on the beach same way today [Monday]. We tell the people to be careful how they go into the sea because it can be very rough,” he had said.
“The water can be deep more time and when you talk to the people they still are not listening. Don’t follow others like we [locals]. We can swim. We born and grow in Alligator Pond. From wah day the weather is kind of rough and we talked to the people who come here to the river and dem still naah hear. Last Monday we had to save about five people. One died on the way to hospital,” he added.
On Sunday, August 6, Asafa Lowe, 17, a resident and mechanic of Endeavor District near Mile Gully in north-west Manchester is suspected to have drowned at the dangerous spot.
A police report said about 2:30 pm, Lowe and his friends went swimming at a beach in Alligator Pond when he reportedly got into difficulties and was seen sinking underwater.
His body is yet to be recovered.
On July 31, Canadian Treveno Sutherland, 23, is suspected to have drowned at the same place.
A police report said about 5:30 pm Sutherland — a warehouse worker from Etobicoke in Ontario — and family members visited the beach. While swimming, Sutherland encountered difficulties.
Police said he was rescued by a passer-by who attempted to resuscitate him, but all efforts failed as he was pronounced dead at Mandeville Regional Hospital, about 18 miles from the beach.