(Trinidad Guardian) An Arima community last night paid their respects to a well-loved resident who lost her life trying to save her grandson from a massive wave during the passage of Hurricane Irma in St Maarten last week.
Melan “June” Salvary, 54, and her grandson, Oliver Gedio both died when they were swept away by a massive wave as they fled from their home which had been torn apart by Irma’s heavy rain and powerful winds.
Gedio’s tiny body was found last Wednesday along the coastline while Salvary’s body was found on Friday. Both bodies were said to be in a badly decomposed state.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Salvary’s youngest sister, Emily Pasqual, said Salvary, Gedio and other relatives were at their home at French Quarter when the house began to fall apart.
“A wall of the house they were in crashed down and the entire structure began ripping apart. I heard that they attempted to go to another relative’s house that was close by and just before my sister reached a massive wave came up from the sea and swept she and her grandson away,” Pasqual said.
Pasqual said the news had sent them into a “state of shock” and although preparations were under way at her home for last evening’s vigil, she wished deep down in her heart that they could have been still found alive.
“My sister was a happy, go-lucky person who lived today for today and who did not have any kind of worry in this world,” Pasqual said.
She added that over the past five years, Salvary has been frequenting St Maarten for vacations to spend time with one of her daughters, Daphne, and grandchildren who live there.
“She would have usually spent weeks, sometimes two months there and come back home. This time she left Trinidad just over two weeks ago for another vacation.”
Pasqual said because communication services were disrupted on the island during Irma’s passage they had not been able to make proper contact with Salvary’s daughter.
Another relative said they are now hoping they will get assistance to repatriate Salvary’s body to Trinidad for burial.
“We don’t know how to go about it but we are trying to find out and it is our last wish for her (Salvary),” the relative said.