Alicia Jack (left) and Leona Jack at their South Rivers home on Saturday morning. (photo by Robertson S. Henry)
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August 24, 2021
Women escape watery deaths in South Rivers

Two women are singing thanks and praise to God for a narrow escape at about 4.00 p.m on Friday when the raging waters of the South Rivers waterway almost swept them to their death.

Trees uprooted, rocks deposited in place. (photo by Robertson S. Henry)

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT newspaper on Saturday morning in front of their homes in the area known as Pasture, Alicia Jack and her aunt Leona Jack recounted that near fatal ordeal.

Alicia said they were washing in the river, a few minutes earlier “we sent the children back to the house, and we finished the washing. I did not hear anything, but something made me check the river and I saw this wave coming. I shouted to my aunty and by the time she look up, the water hit us and fling us to the side.”

Recounting the terrifying ordeal Leona said the wall of water hit them coming around a bend in the river so they were not caught in the middle.

“We landed in the mud and I grabbed the grass but the water kept pulling me. I kept holding on and the clothes I had on was coming off,” an emotional Leona Jack said.

Her niece Alicia, who was standing nearby, said she was able to “hold on to grass and a stone”, but the water pulled her away. “I managed to have the strength to grab some grass and stayed there” until some came and pulled her out.

Leona Jack said she was able to crawl out of the water she stood up and started screaming, “Because I could not pull her out. I kept bawling at them to go help the young lady for me.”

A few young men who were nearby said that when they heard her screaming they went towards her and she pointed out to them telling them at the same time that Alicia was in the water. They quickly went into the water holding on to each other for stability in the raging stream and were able to get the young lady out.

Both Leona and her niece Alicia said that it was a blessing that they sent the children home.

“There was no warning. The weather was looking good so we decided to wash and bathe,” Alicia said. “The water tear off
all me clothes I get on. If the water had stones in it, it would have mash me up”

One young man, who preferred not to give his name, said that he too was in the river a few feet from the river bank when he noticed the wall of white water rushing towards him.

“It was maybe about 100 feet away so I rush to get out of the water,” he recalled. By the time he got to the river bank “the water had already passed where I was standing. I was afraid that there were persons in the river, so when I heard the screaming, we all went to help,” he said.

He pointed to a spot where there were trees in full bloom, but only a pile of rocks occupy that spot, stating, “There were trees there yesterday, but the water took everything. If there were rocks in the water when the women got hit, none of them would be alive today.”

Thankful for their escape, both Alicia and Leona however went back to the river the following morning. They vowed to be more careful in the future; but with so many children in the village Alicia thinks that there should be some kind of community plan, “because we are alive today but there are children who are always playing in the river. We do not know when water from rainfall in the hills will coming down like that again”, she remarked.

“ We do not know if the flooding will be worse, we do not know what will happen. GOD alone knows what will happen and He alone kept us alive.”