5 covered in Belle Isle landslide,  2 hospitalised
Police Officers on the scene at Belle Isle where material broke away from the cliff covering five persons, two were hospitalised.
Front Page
May 8, 2020

5 covered in Belle Isle landslide, 2 hospitalised

by Katherine Renton

While stones habitually fall away from the mine area at Belle Isle, a larger than usual amount of material broke away from the cliff on Tuesday at about 12:30 pm and slammed into five workers, leaving two hospitalized.

Workers for Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd who cleared up the rubble from the road had to use tractors to move away the big rocks, in a process that took them well into the evening to complete.

Vickie Duncan, one of the victims of the landslide at Belle Isle, lies in bed at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

Workers for Dipcon Engineering Services Ltd who cleared up the rubble from the road had to use tractors to move away the big rocks, in a process that took them well into the evening to complete.

The workers clearing the road recalled how they witnessed the frightening sight of the cliff face falling away before their eyes. One commented that it was like a wave, and another recalled that a cloud of dust rose and covered the entire area after the fact.

This wave of material covered five workers, four said to be working with Dipcon and one working with the Roads Buildings and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) on ‘The Belle Isle Slope Stabilisation Works’ project.

A shed that they were working inside or near to was also destroyed.

Vanneta LaBorde, Vickie Duncan, Kenny Isaacs, Alex Stowe and Norris Conwell were all pulled out of the rubble by their fellow workers, and subsequently taken to the Buccament Polyclinic.

However, Conwell and Duncan remained, up until press time, at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH).

They were in such severe pain that they were not able to move when SEARCHLIGHT visited them.

Duncan, who found it difficult to speak, remembered that she was having lunch in the shed and “the rocks start falling off by little bits.”

However, she said they were accustomed to small bits falling from time to time.

But then Duncan heard one of the guys nearby shout “the rock.”

“By the time I turn round I saw it…coming down,” she said, adding that she ran into the corner of the shed with LaBorde.

“Then the whole thing, all the dirt came and push everything over the embankment, on the road,” she said.

The shed they were in was some distance away from the cliff face, and on an elevated embankment near the road.

She said while she expected the dirt to come over the shed, she did not expect it to happen with such power.

“But the force that it let go from the rock where it came straight,” was like a hurricane, Duncan commented.

When she fell off the embankment, Duncan fell on her left side, and was covered.

She was the first person to be pulled out of the rubble, and she said the workers were quick to help them.

However, after being rescued Duncan ran further down the road because she was afraid more material would come down, and while she was there she fell unconscious.

Workers on site clearing debris after materials broke away from a cliff at Belle Isle

The Spring Village resident came to herself once more while at the polyclinic.

“I wasn’t expecting to go over the cliff with everything. The dirt came down [and] it took everything over in the road,” she disclosed.

“I was thinking to myself this was it for me. Yeah, but I thank God, I know he will see me through, he’s able,” Duncan stated.

She has had multiple X-rays since Tuesday and was scheduled for a second ultrasound yesterday. Her hip was fractured, but no other bones are broken. Nevertheless, her entire left side is in pain, and she must use her right arm to move her left arm, and her right leg to move her left leg.

“I believe I was very pound up,” Duncan explained.

Her stomach and two feet are also in pain.

“It’s just last week a huge boulder came down It drop on the road, and it hit me on my left and right foot. When it fall on the road it split in pieces, so I got pound and bruises. So I got them again in the same areas,” she explained.

Duncan’s female companion had run to the side of the shed with Duncan when the landslide happened, and two of the other guys tried to run, but one ran in the wrong direction, she said.

“I am not feeling lucky, I’m feeling blessed. I prayed a lot, I talk to God a lot. First thing on mornings, when I get to work, I have a Bible. I read my Bible and I pray,” Duncan revealed, and that her companions were blessed as well.

“I am just thanking God. I am just thanking God,” she repeated.

One of the workers who helped pull Duncan and others out of the rubble on Tuesday was Kishawn John.

Describing what he saw to SEARCHLIGHT, he said the landslide did not take much time because of the force it came down with. Additionally, he opined that his colleagues were so frightened, they could not move.

Expressing concern about the state of the cliff, he commented, “You see that piece up there so, they have to be careful with that piece, because that other piece up there like it want to come out. So they have to careful with that piece or they have to try to get something to take out that piece there and done.”