– body yet to be recovered
Panic and grief filled the community of Burnham Drive, Wismar, Linden just after mid-day on Sunday as nineteen-year-old Esther Weekes died by drowning in the Demerara River in the vicinity of Burnham Drive and Silvertown, Linden.
Weekes, of 14 Burnham Drive and a former student of the Christianburg Wismar Secondary School was with her aunt and cousin in close proximity to the river when tragedy struck. As of late Sunday afternoon, Police, public spirited citizens and family members were still trying to retrieve the body, but their searches came up empty-handed.
According to Weekes’ aunt Sheryanne DeJonge who was with her at the time of the incident, the deceased had been bathing and playing around with her 11-year-old (DeJonge’s) son on a strip of concrete which leads to the river. The area along the river is in the vicinity of a popular hotel and is also in close proximity to their home and one which the family would frequent regularly. The woman recounted the tragic ordeal in between tears.
“Must be by the water went down so low, the two of them was playing and like I ain’t even know because they went playing and laughing and thing. And like my son fall in. Me ain’t know if she go to hold he or what but both of them go down and I see they head come up and I start shouting for them to push towards land,” she stated.
The distraught DeJonge noted that both went down and back up several times and she kept urging them to push towards the land. While her son was able to do so, Weekes was not so fortunate. In tears, the woman noted that her niece went down, stressing that she was unable to reach her since she herself could not swim. She said the Police arrived on the scene about an hour later but were unsuccessful in retrieving the body. Police ‘E’ Division Commander, Fazil Karimbaksh, when contacted, noted that the deceased went out into the deep end of the river and disappeared underneath when tragedy struck. He noted that persons were reluctant to offer any valid form of assistance since they could not swim. Karimbaksh said a search was however conducted by the Police boat and residents but the body was not recovered as of Sunday afternoon. At the home of the deceased, family and friends gathered as they wept openly. Weekes’ mother who arrived home some time later to the news of the tragedy wept uncontrollably. A relative explained that while the river was relatively “low” at the time, the deceased appeared to have drowned due to its persistent current. (Utamu Belle)