Click here to print page

VIDEO: Deadly dive

24-year-old man is fourth diver to die in Rocky Point since January

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Senior staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 17, 2020

A routine diving exercise off the coast of Rocky Point in southern Clarendon turned deadly early Wednesday when the swollen, lifeless body of a 24-year-old diver was brought back to land by colleagues, after he reportedly developed complications underwater.

Kazaray Williams of Portland Cottage in the parish is reportedly the fourth diver to die in the area since the start of the year.

His fisherman colleague Rodane Facey told the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday that Williams left home for work with a group of friends around 5:00 pm Tuesday to go diving in the night, as they customarily did for their job.

Facey, who said he did not make that trip, disclosed that at approximately 1:00 am, the disturbed group of men returned to land with Williams' body, still clad in his diving suit.

Williams' death, according to Facey, has plunged the Rocky Point and Portland Cottage communities into mourning yet again.

“When yuh leave here a life and death situation, Mumma,” the man, who was among other fishermen and divers, said as he drowned his sorrows with marijuana, rum, and an energy drink.

The others, too, were having a hard time with Williams' death. He had only been a diver for two years.

“Yuh cyaan do without sea when yuh live dung ya suh. A yuh work. If one different source of income did deh yah nuff a wi wouldn't go out deh. Wid this work, yuh nuh have pension, yuh nuh get insurance, and yuh family nuh get nothing when yuh dead; but, wah fi do? A yuh work,” Facey lamented.

“Diving a something weh mash yuh up, enuh. Mi a be honest. It give yuh one something name bubbles offa one compressor weh yuh dive from. It put bubbles inna yuh body, and when it give yuh that yuh cyaan even move yuh foot lock off. More time yuh see a man and him a suffer, a it. Never see a man walk back after them get it,” Facey added.

Diving can sometimes lead to air or gas embolism, according to the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS).

If a diver surfaces too quickly, nitrogen bubbles can form in their tissues and bloodstream. This is often referred to as decompression sickness or 'the bends'.

According to the NHS, surfacing quickly and holding one's breath can cause air trapped in the lungs to expand. This may rupture lung tissue (pulmonary barotrauma), which can lead to gas bubbles being released into the arterial circulation (arterial gas embolism).

In some divers, underlying conditions can increase the chance of decompression sickness.

Williams' mother, Juliet, was beside herself with grief when she spoke to the Observer at her home in Portland Cottage on Wednesday.

She said she had been away in Mandeville, Manchester, for work for two weeks, and had only returned in time to see her son off to work.

However, she said, days prior, he had complained about chest pains.

“Him call mi from wah day and seh him nuh feel good. Mi seh, 'Look inna mi draw yuh see $4,000 inna one purse, tek it and go doctor. Nuh drink or nothing.' Them (Williams and his girlfriend) seh them go over hospital, but it look like the doctor tek too long fi tend to him, so them come back an nuh see the doctor,” the mother of four said.

She said when she returned home on Tuesday, after briefly interacting with him, a friend of his called him for work.

“Him girlfriend seh him eat and then him go weh, because a night diving him do. Last night [Wednesday morning] mi inna mi bed a sleep and mi hear him girlfriend a beat dung the door and seh, 'Them seh fi come fi Kazaray fi carry him go a doctor.' So mi draw on one clothes and walk fast, fast go dung deh,” she said.

The mother, who is also called Jennifer by her friends, said when she arrived at the fishing beach in Rocky Point, she observed one of her son's colleagues on his knees weeping.

“Him seh, 'Jennifer, him dead, him dead, him dead.' When mi look mi just faint weh. When mi end up a hospital him just lay dung inna him diving suit. Mi nuh know nothing more. Mi nuh know what happen,” the woman, who was in tears, said.

Facey and colleagues, too, told the Observer that it is unclear what happened to Williams, who reportedly appeared fine before diving.

The police are investigating the death and have taken statements from the group of men with whom he went diving.

“The guy them him a go sea with, a them force him fi go a sea, but him know seh him sick, him shouldn't go, because him nuh hungry, him nuh hungry; him nuh hungry; him nuh hungry,” Juliet repeated.

She said her son also dived for a company which paid him even when weather conditions are poor and he was unable to dive.

“Mi nuh know weh him pick up himself and go a sea go dead,” she stressed.

In the meantime, divers and fishermen in the area lamented the underdevelopment of their community and the lack of investment and opportunities.

“When a man go a school and leave, what yuh think him a leave fi do? Him a come turn either diver, fisherman... Nothing nuh deh yah fi do, so yuh haffi tek to the sea dead or nuh dead. Yuh think wi nuh fret before wi go out? Wi know seh this might be wi last trip and wi nuh come back. Nothing nuh deh yah fi the youths, and wi nuh waan turn to criminality,” said Rakeem Hope, who spoke on the group's behalf.