Two bus conductors from Linstead in St. Catherine were heading towards Spanish Town in the parish on a bus when they happened upon a crash scene in the Bog Walk Gorge last week Tuesday morning, September 1.
Dane Gray, who works on the bus, said several people were at the scene – many of them videotaping a motorcar that had landed into the waters of the Rio Cobre that runs beside the roadway.
It is reported that the car plunged into the river after colliding with another vehicle.
Gray stated that, when he realized what was happening, he swiftly exited the bus and confirmed that someone was in the ill-fated car.
“Mi jus tek off mi clothes an rush in the water to the car,” he told The Beacon, adding that the person he went to rescue is a total stranger.
Gray noted: “A coulda mi old lady; a coulda mi sister; a coulda anybody in the car. Mi did haffi try help.”
According to Gray, the car windows were wound up and that impeded his efforts. “If the glass did wind down, mi coulda get out the lady,” he posited.
He was assisted by the other bus conductor and unsung hero, Delgado Smith – otherwise called ‘Dainty’, who works on a bus that plies the Half-Way-Tree to Cross Roads route in Kingston.
The task however proved too difficult for both men who – without thinking about making the news – displayed enormous courage and selflessness.
Dainty, who leapt into the water without removing his clothes, told The Beacon that, subsequent to the rescue effort, he travelled miles back home for different clothes before heading to work.
He also ended up losing his telephone.
He explained that, in his frantic rush to enter the water to rescue the crash victim, he gave a male bystander his phone for safekeeping. When he later left the water, the person was nowhere to be found.
The crash victim, 66-year-old Eunice Williams from Linstead, succumbed to her injuries.
She was still alive when the conductors initially tried to remove her from the crashed car, Dainty said.
He, along with Gray, expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of firefighters who were at the scene.
“If the fireman dem did respond quicker, the lady coulda save,” Gray opined. “One a dem (firemen) even a seh him naah wet up him shoes.”
NOT THE FIRST TIME
It is not the first time that both conductors separately are trying to rescue victims of motor vehicle accidents.
Gray recalled another incident in which a van, last year, plunged into the Rio Cobre with three people – two of whom he helped to save. One of them died before Gray reached the scene.
Elaborating on that incident, Gray said he was working as a conductor when he saw the van in the water. “Mi an a next youth chuck off and goh fi the people dem. Wi use rope and tie the two a dem [who were still alive] and pull dem outa the water,” he told The Beacon.
The other conductor, Dainty, said he too operated as a Good Samaritan in previous accidents while on the job.
He recalled being fired twice for assisting crash victims on two separate occasions in Kingston.
Dainty said he almost lost his job last week after trying to rescue the woman from the Rio Cobre waters. However, he was vindicated after showing a video of him in the river – fighting to save the woman’s life.
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