A CENTRAL Trinidad pharmacist narrowly escaped death yesterday, following quick action by two Guayamare residents who jumped into a swollen river and saved him from drowning as everyone else gathered on the scene were afraid to.
Ganesh Bansraj, 28, who described himself as a good swimmer, said having grown up five houses away from the river, he was no stranger to cars losing control and landing in the brackish, caiman-infested body of water.
Yesterday afternoon’s incident was nothing new, said Bansraj.
Around 2.40 p.m., a red car driven by Caura Hospital pharmacist Rolly Bhawansingh was heading south along the Uriah Butler Highway when he veered off the highway and plunged into the relatively deep water.
Bansraj said, “We heard the crash of the accident, and anytime that happens, we come out to see. I come out and I just hear people bawling, ‘Look the man in the car dey,’ and no one wanted to jump in.”
He continued, “People were scared it seems, but I take a jump in because it’s a life yuh have to save.”
Bansraj admitted however he was scared prior to jumping in the water since he had never rescued anyone before.
He said he was forced to jump in the river when he noticed Bhawansingh’s car sinking deeper into the water, the driver still unconscious and his nose about to touch the water that was quickly filling up the car.
He said he jumped in and waded towards the car and opened the driver’s side door.
He said Bhawansingh was wearing his seat belt and he had to wrestle with the device while still keeping the man’s head from sliding into the water.
While struggling with Bhawansingh’s safety belt, his cousin Shiv Bansraj also jumped into the river, and together, they finally got the man out.
Bansraj said they then waded him over to the river bank and began their attempts to revive him.
By this time, officers of the Central Division, including PC Ian Pariag, had stopped along the highway with an off-duty paramedic who assisted in reviving Bhawansingh. They treated him until an ambulance arrived and took him to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope where he remained in stable condition up to last night.
Officers of the Chaguanas Police Station who interviewed Bhawansingh described him as a “very, very lucky man as he did not even have a scratch on him.”
According to the police, Bhawansingh told them he could not recall when he drove off the highway. At the time, he was on his way to his Warrenville, Cunupia, home, having left work.
Bhawansingh reportedly told officers he suspects his car was hit from behind but was not sure.
The victim also told officers he never drinks alcohol.
About a month ago, another motorist, Sham Durgadeen, 39, was killed when he, too, drove off the southbound lane of the highway and landed in the same river.
Police said he was driving his Mazda 323 Familia on the south-bound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway when he was struck from behind by a Kia truck.
Durgadeen lost control of the vehicle and the car flipped and ended in the Guayamare River.