Close call!

Close call!

12-year-old girl rescued from raging flood waters in Sandy Gully

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Observer staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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IT was a close call yesterday for 12-year-old Mikaila Robinson, who managed to flash media cameras a smile after her horrific ordeal of clinging on for life in raging flood waters in the Sandy Gully.

What started out as an afternoon frolic in heavy rain in Waterhouse, St Andrew, quickly turned into disaster for young Mikaila, who was washed away into the angry waters of the Sandy Gully, the city's main drainage that empties in the Kingston Harbour.

A group of boys running with the news that Mikaila had fallen into the gully was what alerted residents to the little girl's distress.

“Di rain a fall and when wi look wi see three little boy a run up and dung. We ask dem what happen and dem say a little girl drop inna the gully.

“Wi start call fi help. Wi run go to the soldier dem and dem come. Wi call fire brigade and dem come.

“But a some youth end up being the winner. Dem save her, and I am so proud of dem, because I am a mother and I wouldn't like that for my child,” said Michelle Brown, a resident of the community.

Brown explained that Mikaila was among a group of children playing near the edge of the gully just moments before she fell metres deep into the ravine's raging waters, and had to be pulled out by young men who were on the other side of the gully.

“Dem use a piece a rope and tie it around themself and go out inna di middle a di gully and take her out,” said Brown, adding that neither the police nor the firefighters made any active attempts to save young Mikaila.

One woman, who asked not be named, was out of breath fuming that members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade were not able to rescue the little girl.

“Dem come and see the little girl and all dem could a say is that they need a helicopter to save her. Dem say they can't do it,” the woman said.

Acting Superintendent Valery Dixon of York Park Fire Station told the Jamaica Observer that the firefighters were unable to save Mikaila because the flood waters were too high.

“When they got there, based on their assessment, the level of the water was too high, so it would have posed a challenge for them to rescue her at the time. But she was eventually rescued by residents when the water receded,” said Dixon.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Andrew Johnson told the Observer that around 2:00 pm they received frantic calls from residents reporting that a little girl had fallen into the Sandy Gully.

“I immediately mobilised my teams and I came along the Sandy Gully bank. The young lady was seen in the middle of the gully with raging water all around her.

“The situation was one that was really scary, because we couldn't see how she was going to be rescued, because of the force of the water and the height that the water was at as well,” said Johnson, who went on to describe young Mikaila's demeanour during the ordeal.

“She was not crying. She was actually being very brave. I know she [must have been] very frightened with the water all around her.

“However, residents were all trying to assist, and eventually some men from the other side of the gully tied a rope and formed a human chain, about five of them, and went out into the middle of the gully and rescued the young girl.

“But the residents never lost hope, and I want to commend those who risked their own lives and went out into the raging waters. This is the kind of thing that we want to see from our communities; residents believing in each other and reaching out a helping hand.

“It was a very brave thing, and I laud the effort that they made,” said Johnson.


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