BY RACQUEL PORTER Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, May 26, 2016
THE body of 13-year-old Brittanie Cohen, who was swept away by raging floodwaters in St Thomas on Tuesday night, was found wrapped around a tree along the Golden Grove main road yesterday.
Brittanie, a seventh-grade student of Paul Bogle High School, and two of her peers were trapped by floodwaters as they made their way home from school, during heavy rains induced by a trough that has been lashing the eastern section of the island since early Tuesday — badly damaging roads and homes.
The bus that was transporting the students from Golden Grove to Dalvey, where Brittanie lived, had to abort the trip because of rising floodwaters, residents alleged.
Residents told the Jamaica Observer that Brittanie and two of her peers attempted to make the journey home by foot, when she attempted to cross the flooded road at Hampton Court, and was swept away. The other two girls were rescued by residents, but efforts to find Brittanie failed as night had fallen and there was no electricity in the area. Yesterday, one resident said Brittanie appeared to have sought refuge on a tree as the water rose, her head found stuck between its branches less than a quarter of a mile from where she was swept away.
Her mother, Jullian Green, was beside herself with grief yesterday. She said she spoke to Brittanie — the first of her three children — minutes before the tragedy.
“Mi deh yah and a wonder weh she deh, so mi call and she seh she deh a Hampton. Ina di five o’clock bells mi a wonder how she ago reach, so mi get up and say mi a guh look fi mi daughter,” she told the Observer.
“One man come to mi and seh she last (got lost) ennuh. Everbody a tell mi di same ting seh dem cyaan find her. Mi nuh know what happen after,” Green said, noting that Brittanie was a quiet and responsible child and would have normally reached home by 4:00 pm.
As if the tragedy was not enough, Green and her spouse spent most of yesterday sweeping mud from their house.
“The bed wet up, everything wet up,” she said.
“Mi cyaan do nuh talking; mi mind nuh deh yah so now. Mi cyaan believe Brittanie gone,” said Green’s spouse, Courtney Reid, when the Observersolicited a comment from him.
Yesterday, scenes of residents trying to clean mud from flooded homes were replicated across St Thomas. Several roads were dug up by floodwaters and others blocked by landslides, while some areas were still without electricity as a result of uprooted posts and displaced wires caused by fallen trees. more