THE EXPLOSIVE ERUPTIONS of La Soufriere volcano in April last year are still fresh in the memory of boat captain, Wayne Layne.
“It was a surreal experience, just like watching a movie, ” he said of the April, 2021 eruptions.
Layne recalled that on April 8, he and two other persons went out fishing on his boat setting out around 3:00 p.m on what looked like a normal day, returning to shore shortly after 5:00 p.m.
Little did they know that while they were at sea, an evacuation order had been made for all residents in the Red Zone (Owia included) to move to safer areas.
He said people were already on the jetty at the Owia Fisheries Complex waiting to be transported out of the danger zone.
In other areas in the village, persons were busy packing and getting ready to flee.
While all of this was happening, Layne and his crew had landed with over 100 lbs of Yellowfin Tuna in the boat.
“We had all these fish to sell and nobody was buying, everybody was running out of the village,” Layne recalled.
He said they had to put the fish in cold storage as there was a mad rush to get out of Owia on the evening of April 8 last year.
On Friday April 9, 2021, Layne said they were able to sell some of the fish to people who were still waiting to get out of Owia.
“It started out as a beautiful day with clear blue skies,” the young Owia resident recalled.
However, things changed rapidly and around 8:20 a.m on April 9, 2021, La Soufriere Volcano erupted explosively.
Layne said that event was so frightening that he jumped in his boat and headed out of Owia.
Other persons were also in the boat with him.
They put ashore at Calliaqua.
“Then I took a van to go to my mom’s home in Greiggs.
The following day, Layne and others returned to the boat at Calliaqua and attempted to reach Owia to help rescue some of the residents who were still there.
But the crew encountered difficulties with poor visibility and had to turn back on reaching Overland.
However, during the eruptions, Layne said he made about four successful trips with his boat, taking people out of Owia.
He also used the opportunity to supply food and water at on various occasions to those who did not wish to leave.
During the explosions, Layne’s family home in Owia suffered some damage to the roof.
But thankfully, although the eruptions were “terrifying” no lives were lost and things are slowly returning to normal.