1 drowned, 1 rescued

Kenrod Brown

Shortly after one o’clock this afternoon, the coastguard retrieved the body of a man who had been missing at sea since Sunday. Kenrod Brown was among a group, including family members, who set out to sea on a fishing expedition to Bannister Caye. Things soon went awry when the engine of their small boat experienced mechanical problems. Brown was the unlucky one; he drowned after jumping into water to rescue another passenger. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

A small worried crowd gathered behind the Esso Compound on Caesar Ridge Road. Family members who were on an Easter trip congregated once more as the body of their loved one, twenty nine year old Kenrod Nelson Brown, was pulled out of the water after one this afternoon. Brown drowned while trying to save another passenger who went swimming at sea.

Fitzroy Yearwood

Sergeant Fitzroy Yearwood, Police Press Officer

“Some children that were in this area swimming came across a body of a missing person. Kenrod Brown was originally reported missing at sea. We know that the body is in an advance state of decomposition. So he was ferried away. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital and because of the state of decomposition a post mortem will be conducted immediately on the body to determine the cause of death.”

But while the family mourns, it could have been worse. The reports were that two men were lost at sea. A quick response from the coastguard lead to the rescue of another man.

Gregory Soberanis

Lt. Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer, Belize Coast Guard

“Upon arrival at the scene, our patrol was informed that there were two individuals in the water—one Mister Walter Dawson and one Mister Kenrod Brown. We commenced a search of the immediate area and we found Mister Dawson floating with a life jacket—a little distance away from the vessel—he had drifted away from the vessel. Mister Brown was nowhere to be seen at the time. We were later informed by Mister Dawson that Mister Brown was holding on to the life jacket for a period of time—approximately half hour before our patrol arrived. He had released the life jacket, submerged and did not resurface. In his estimation, Mister Brown had drowned. We returned to the boat where there were twelve other individuals on board—eight adults and four children. We were informed by those on board that while the vessel had stopped due to engine failure, Mister Dawson had jumped overboard for a swim, had experienced some problems.”

Aaron Tillett

Aaron Tillett was on board the family trip that lead to tragedy.

Aaron Tillett, Witnessed Incident that Led to Drowning

“While we gone pan this trip, we noh fi mi gone cause we mi di tell di man spin back. We neva insist. The man say the Caye deh right up yonder. Now when we deh di argue and decide fi spin back di boat, the wave come and knock the engine off the boat. And me and Kenrod mi deh dah back of the boat cause he mi deh di control di boat. We end up di grab di engine before ih really touch di water.—which in ih get wet. So we drag the engine onboard, take off the top, try dry off the spark plug fi ketch fiyah back fi make di boat go. Now while eena that process, while that di happen, Walter Dawson jump up and halla he da wah fish and he jump da water. Now when he jumpo dah the water, I look at my cousin and I tell him, lef he right and mek we continue fix the engine weh we di deal with. And the man stay di bawl help, help—do wah two strokes, gone down—the real Hollywood style cause even me; I say dah play, everybody eena di boat say left dah man, dah play dah man deh di play. Anyway, I hold di man and I tell the man like this: “family no goh cause only you can maneuver this machine.” I got my small pikney they, my woman, my in-laws dehn nad everything pan this boat. Man say no he have to save the man. So the man jump da water. When ih jump dah water, they end up di drift out so. When they drift out soh, I see Walter and Kenrod di struggle eena di water—like dah me and you deh so and we di tackle. I noh know if ih di try tell di man come in or if he di try bring ahn in. Now the next guy, Gary Meighan, weh mi eena the boat with we, he jump with a life guard jacket vest and swim out deh. Then time, Mister Brown di swim in so di bally throw the thing to Walter. So Walter end up di get the life jacket, dah neva Brown. Brown mi di come in. So while Brown di come in, Brown di halla tell me bring the boat. But I can’t bring di boat, the engine neva want start. So I couldn’t move the boat. And the man couldn’t make it in big man and that is the story right deh. It’s sad.”

Lt. Gregory Soberanis

“What is of importance to us is safety. There were fourteen people on board this small skiff and there were only two life jackets onboard. That is a concern for the Coast Guard. We definitely want to encourage mariners to think of safety whenever they go out at sea—you never can tell what may happen out at sea. Hence the reason why you see Coast Guard personnel at the water taxi terminals, at the marinas.”

Aaron Tillett

“And da Walter Dawson fault. If he never haul da stunt deh like that mien, my family woulda mi deh right now with we right yah big man. Pan di real. So we just want justice to mien. We want the police look into this, find Walter Dawson and get to the bottom of this story because ih very sad mien. My family couldn’t ah mi gone dah way deh. Pan di real. I just want the system try look into this matter cause this dah wah serious matter mien. And we always di hear about family dead, this one yah di get shot, thing di happen and the police need fi get into this mien pan di real. Like the people she, you neva feel it ‘til ih hit yoh. When ih hit yoh then yoh know. You dig boss.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.