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Search still on for missing seabather

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Today marks ten days since Penal father of two Alex Sookhoo went missing while bathing at Columbus Bay, Cedros. His relatives remain hopeful that the body of the 28-year-old bus driver of Lowkie Trace would surface soon so they could get closure and set his soul free. Yesterday Sookhoo’s father Nandeo, speaking with the T&T Guardian in a brief telephone interview, said the family had been conducting prayers and making offerings to Mother Ganga (Hindu deity of the sea) to release Sookhoo’s body so they could perform his final rites. Nandeo said it had been a very traumatic and difficult ten days for the family and they just wanted to have some measure of closure.


He said they were hoping that the body would wash ashore. “Everybody is still in a sad state, there is nothing we can do. We are in a bit of a helpless state right now. We did a certain amount of personal rituals and we had a prayer ceremony near the ocean, Mother Ganga is a living being you know, and we had to give her worship to release the body. We have done that and we are hoping that with the help of humans and God, God inspires man and woman to do something, (that something will happen). We are going by faith right now,” he said. Sookhoo was last seen alive around 2.45 pm on April 13. He dived off a rock at Columbus Bay and did not resurface. Nandeo said Sookhoo’s mother was not taking the entire situation well. “You know how difficult it is for nine days to know someone drown and is still out there,” he lamented.


Nandeo appealed to the authorities to put up signs warning bathers about the dangers of bathing at Columbus bay. He said he went to the beach over the Easter weekend and many people were on the beach. He said there were no life guards on the beach in case of emergency and “that is a popular beaching area.” He said the family received spiritual guidance and they were told that Sookhoo’s body was trapped under the water and only deep sea divers would be able to retrieve it. Nandeo said the family was given the location of the body and he would make contact with the Coast Guard to get divers to search that area. Yesterday Lieutenant Kirk Jean Baptiste, T&T Coast Guard, said since the second day divers have been going underwater in search of Sookhoo’s body with “negative sightings.” Dives, he explained, are done based on currents, their speed and flow. “Sometimes the strength of the current prevents the body from recovery. The current could keep the body down,” he said.


Jean Baptiste said the search for Sookhoo was one of recovery rather than rescue. He urged bathers to exercise extreme caution in waters around the country since climate change issues were affecting the beach areas. “People need to exercise extreme caution and practice proper safety in utilising our waters and river ways as a means of entertainment and fun. The Coast Guard understands the emotional pain and trauma in losing loved ones in a maritime environment, having lost some of our own in conducting rescue efforts. Hence the reason we do not take matters, persons missing in maritime environment, lightly,” he added. PC Hosein, of the Cedros Police Station, is continuing investigations.


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