"I JUST have to thank God. It was a miracle."
This was the declaration of Andrew Mitchell, a corporal in the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, after his five-year-old son, Kaleb, fell more than 20 feet from the Jeffrey Stollmeyer Stand at the Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain on Friday night. Miraculously, Kaleb sustained only minor injuries.
Mitchell, his wife and two sons, along with relatives, had gone to the Oval to see masman Brian MacFarlane's Independence Day show, "Journey to Jubilee", which was billed as a cultural extravaganza in celebration of the country's 50th year as an independent nation.
However, for the Mitchells, the show was over before it started.
"All of us were there. Me, my wife, Kaleb and my nephews were all there waiting for the show to start. While waiting, Kaleb and my nephews went close to the railing to see what was happening. When I saw them there I called out to them and told them to move from by the railing and to come and sit by me," said Mitchell during a phone interview from his Lutchman Drive, Long Circular home yesterday.
The youngsters obeyed his command for a short while but while speaking to his wife, Mitchell said he did not notice that they had again ventured off to where they were told not to go.
"Next thing I know is that my nephew called out to me, 'Uncle Andrew, look Kaleb just fall'. We were sitting about ten rows up and what happened was that where they were, there was a lot of water so he slipped and went right through the bottom of the railing. It just happened so fast. In a split second. I got down those steps so fast. My wife was in a total mess," he said.
Mitchell said when he rushed to where his son was, he noticed that he had a cut on his chin and a bump to the back of his head.
The incident took place shortly before 7 p.m.
Mitchell said the ambulance arrived quickly and other patrons at the show were "very helpful".
Wiping away tears as he spoke to TV6 earlier yesterday, Mitchell said he will never forget the feeling of seeing his son lying on the ground and feeling that there was nothing he could do to save him.
The boy was rushed to the Port of Spain General Hospital by ambulance where he was treated and later transferred to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope where he was kept for observation overnight.
X-rays and CT scans were also performed and showed no serious injuries.
Kaleb was discharged yesterday morning.
The boy was playing around the house shortly after being brought home, Mitchell said, but was "quieter" than usual.
"It is just a miracle that he was not more seriously injured. He got three stitches for the cut on his chin and he is complaining of a little headache and chest pains, but that is it. So far he is moving about normal and everything, still giving me old talk," Mitchell laughed.
Mitchell said the boy seemed to feel he had done something wrong and while being treated at the hospital, repeatedly said, "I love you, Daddy."
Mitchell said doctors at the hospital kept in contact and asked that the boy be brought back today "just to make sure that everything is okay".
"But again, I just have to thank God that everything is okay because this is how things happen. Children are our heart and it is between a heartbeat, that is how things happen. One moment you're good as ever and in a split second tragedy strikes," Mitchell said, adding that he accepted some of the blame for the accident.
A media statement from the Ministry of Health yesterday said all protocols associated with the treatment of trauma were observed when the boy was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital.
by Kim Boodram