Delgado Smith, better known as ‘Dainty’, was travelling home after nightfall last Saturday (September 18), not knowing that his journey would have become a rescue mission in the waters of the Rio Cobre, St. Catherine.
It was his third time going into water to either save a person or recover a body, he said.
But this is the first time that the person pulled from the water is still alive.
The rescued man is Jeffery Smith, a security guard from Linstead, St. Catherine. His family said he suffered broken legs and is expected to be in hospital for a while.
His family added that, based on information received, their loved-one was driving towards Spanish Town when a truck knocked his van off the roadway and didn’t stop.
In the meantime, Dainty explained that, some time after 8PM, he was heading to his home in Linstead after work. He saw a long line of traffic, and a number of people mainly with phones turned in the direction of the water.
“The people dem seh dem naah goh in the water because dem nuh trust it and because a night,” Dainty said.
He eventually saw the partly submerged van.
“The front was under the water, and the back in the air,” according to Dainty, a bus conductor. “If the park light on the van never did turn on, nobody would know somebody down in the water. Mi give God thanks seh him never lock off the park light.”
Dainty further stated that, when he walked towards the crowd, he heard the crash victim crying out for help.
“Mi hear somebody in the water a bawl out: ‘Help! Help! Help’!” Dainty recalled.
He said he gave someone his phone and wallet and went into the tretcherous water.
“Mi jus chuck off in the water, jump pon the van back, and lick out the glass,” he said.
Dainty stated that the crash victim, whom he did not know, called him by his ‘Dainty’ alias, and begged him not to leave him to die.
At that time, only the crash victim’s head was above water, Dainty said. “The whole of him body was in the water, but him face never in there. Him did a hold up him head, an mi tell him nuh hold it down [in the water].”
Dainty said he managed to pull the crash victim from the front of the van to the back.
“Mi hold him backway and draw him out through the back glass,” he recalled. “Him did a bawl fi pain, but mi did haffi jus gwaan hold him because mi did haffi tek him out the van.”
Dainty said another man appeared in the water and, together, they brought the crash victim to the roadway.
He also helped to place the crash victim into a vehicle, and accompanied him to Linstead Public Hospital.
Dainty also explained that the victim gave him a phone number for a relative, and he called and alerted the family about what had taken place.
He said he waited at the hospital with the crash victim until his relatives arrived.
According to Dainty, the victim eventually was transferred to Spanish Town Hospital.
He, along with some of the victim’s relatives, went to the hospital yesterday.
Dainty told The Beacon that, on two other occasions, he ventured into water to help people he thought were in difficulty.
He recalled the first incident being about four years ago when a schoolboy died in the Jericho area of Linstead.
The other incident happened on September 1 last year when Dainty, along with two other men, went into the Rio Cobre to assist a woman whose vehicle had plunged into the river. The woman, 66-year-old Eunice Williams, who lived in Linstead, eventually died.
Dainty is happy that, this time round, the victim is alive.
“This is the first time I saved a life, and I thank God I did it,” he said. “I want the government to see it, listen to it, and see what best it can do.”
Dainty, in the meantime, said he is not the best swimmer around, but he is happy that his effort has paid off.
“Mi can barely swim, but, since I chuck off in the water for the lady [last year], God give mi a power and mi can swim yah now,” he asserted.
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