…divers recover his body
After an all night ‘Angels in White” party, the devil must have really been mad and so unleashed his fury
on one patron, whose vehicle slammed into the northern section of the Mackenzie/ Wismar bridge and disappeared in the murky Demerara River below.
The vehicle GRR4634, and its driver, 35-year-old Collis Mentis aka Thom, a Linden businessman, were retrieved from the depths of the river more than three hours later.
The accident occurred shortly after 8:00 hrs yesterday, and resulted in a traffic build up on both sides of the river for more than three hours.
According to reports, Mentis, a resident of Fairs Rust, Mackenzie, Linden, had minutes earlier left the Christianburg Community Centre ground, where he had attended the all night party.
One of his friends said he had spoken to Mentis a few minutes before the accident.
“I was gaffing with him; then Dowie, a worker, came up and started to ride alongside his vehicle and was telling him not to drive too fast, because he didn’t want to have to carry any message.
“Anyway I left and went up the hill, and they continued down the road. Dowie stopped at the boat landing and Collis went up the road to cross the bridge. The next thing I hear is he in an accident”.
Eyewitnesses said that Mentis’ vehicle was travelling at a fast rate, and then it suddenly careened off the bridge.
A taxi driver claimed, “I was driving behind this man, and he was going pretty fast, then the next thing I see is the vehicle in the river going down, and they had all these bubbles. I get confused right away, and really frustrated because you’re watching this thing happening and there is nothing you could do, because I can’t even swim.”
As news of the accident spread like wild fire, people rushed to the scene and converged on the bridge.
Others lined the river’s edge as several men in boats scoured the river bottom in their efforts to rescue the man.
Two men, Knolly John and Chucky Barker, dived to the bottom and found the
vehicle which they secured with ropes.
It was later retrieved from the river by a crane, which was deployed to the scene by Bosai INC.
According to Barker the area where the vehicle went down was about 25 feet deep and the vehicle had sunk into a deep hole, so its extraction necessitated mechanical help.
After the vehicle was brought to the surface, Mentis was quickly taken out and rushed in one of the boats, to the Linden hospital Complex, where another huge crowd had flocked. Pandemonium broke out as relatives and friends wailed uncontrollably.
But all along there was speculation that he was still alive, and relatives and friends were praying fervently that he would make it.
He was however pronounced dead soon after.
Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon said the accident was most unfortunate, and that it highlighted the need to put in place a proper first response unit, and emergency response system.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to identify a number of deficiencies we could rectify
so that in the future, even if such things could not be prevented, we could at least respond appropriately.
At the level of the RDC these are lessons which we have to take note of, and put measures in place to improve on services that would ensure that lives are saved.
Solomon called Mentis an enterprising businessman, who was in the process of establishing one of the most prominent business places in Linden.
APNU Parliamentarian, Rennis Morian, emphasized the need for disaster preparedness in Region Ten.
“I have been emphasizing the need for disaster preparedness for over five years now in Region Ten; we have roads, we have rivers, so we have to put systems in place for any sort of eventuality.
Now there is somebody overboard and there is no diving equipment or anything.
Once there is a bridge spanning a river, disaster preparedness necessitates that appropriate gear should be in place, and easily accessible for rescue operations.
“This should be a wake up call for all of us.”
Colette Fraser, Mentis’s mother, was too distraught to speak to the
media. (Enid Joaquin)
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