Three narrowly escape death on Cemetery Road Bridge
By Latoya Giles
A driver and two passengers narrowly escaped drowning yesterday evening after
the car they were in veered off the dilapidated wooden bridge at Cemetery Road, North East La Penitence, and toppled into a canal.
Alma Thorne, her son Elbert Thorne, 16, and the driver who has not been identified were all rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Kaieteur News was told that the teenage boy was in an unconscious state. His mother told Kaieteur News that she had just hired the car and was heading to Grove, East Bank Demerara.
According to Thorne, as they approached the bridge in the vicinity of the cemetery, she felt the car bounce and heard a “popping” sound. The woman said the next thing she knew the car had toppled into the canal.
“I just reached for a window….and was screaming for my son…get out get out.” The woman said that she eventually managed to crawl through a window, then started shouting for her son who was still trapped inside. Her cries alerted residents who managed to pull the woman’s son and the driver to safety. The victims were all rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
One eyewitness told Kaieteur News that the driver was travelling at a slow rate but encountered immediate problems after one of the front wheels ended up in one of the many deep ridges on the bridge.
“All I see is de car look like it stopping li’l bit and then it just went over I swear this was like a slow motion thing,” the eyewitness told Kaieteur News.
He said that as the car was going overboard, the driver opened his door and attempted to jump. He added that the driver and a female passenger managed to exit the car which by this time was overturned in the canal, but the boy remained trapped by the seatbelt.
The eyewitness said that the woman began screaming that her son was still inside.
Upon hearing this, a few young men plunged to his rescue. George Greene, who was one of the rescuers, told Kaieteur News that after he heard that the boy was trapped in the car he decided to render assistance.
He said that persons tried to turn over the water-filled car, but to no avail. After several tries they managed to rescue the boy, who was rushed to the hospital.
Shortly after, angry residents began blocking the bridge, they now call the “murder bridge”. The residents and users of the bridge fear that the faulty structure may have to take a life before authorities even opt to repair it.
It was only when a motorist lost his life because of the damage on the neighbouring bridge that it was fixed, they said.
Some residents also burned tyres and pieces of wood to demand the immediate repair of the bridge.
“Last year, a motorcyclist died on that other bridge (adjacent to the Cemetery Road Bridge) and is then them come and repair it. If it wasn’t for that man’s death that bridge would have remained like that,” a resident, Fiona Wilson, claimed.
Other residents shouted, “The government has turned a blind eye on us. For years we have been making complaints but these people want to see blood before they do something.”
Last Wednesday, a US-based Guyanese almost perished after his vehicle also toppled off the same bridge.
Christopher Giles, 41, was forced to crawl out of the car after slipping out without unbuckling his seatbelt, which had trapped him.
He managed to crawl his way through the driver’s window and was then assisted by public spirited persons.
According to information, Giles was driving his sister’s car. Eyewitnesses to that accident had told Kaieteur News that Giles had driven into a huge hole, which caused his tyre to burst and the car to plummet into the trench.