Arima man saves uncle from certain drowning

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

A 55-YEAR-OLD Arima man is thanking his nephew who risked his own life to pull him out of raging floodwaters.

Two video clips, 14 and 12 seconds long, which were posted to social media, showed Derick Pollard being swept away as he desperately tried to hold on to any and everything to keep from being swallowed by an overflowing river.

At one point he is seen trying to hold on to the window of his nephew’s home, but that was futile.

Without hesitation, 26-year-old Andy Manhay jumped into the water and grabbed his uncle, and with the assistance of his girlfriend and other family members, was able to pull himself and his uncle out of the water.

Reliving the moment, Manhay said he was by his grandmother’s home across the street from his Arima Old Road home helping her pack away whatever they could to save from being washed away by the flood when he saw his uncle being washed away. This happened sometime between 2 and 3 pm on Wednesday.

“The water take him from over the road and bring him on we side, as it was gushing down. The neighbours start to bawl because we was inside lock up.

“My sister see him in the water and then my girlfriend see him in the back with his head pushing up on a tree.”

He continued: “When I was going to help him, my mother was bawling for me not to go because the water was up to my neck. I swim across and I hold on to him. The water was pushing away two ah we. Is a good thing they throw a rope for we.”

Manhay said he did not hesitate to put his life on the line for his uncle, although he himself is a new father with a two-month-old baby at home.

He said his uncle, known as “Boyie” in the community, is always helpful and he could not stand by and watch the flood take him.

“Is what family does do, look out for each other. I had to go and save him and if I didn’t do that, all now so, they would be looking for him as they are for the woman in Lopinot.”

Manhay was referring to the sorry tale of Theresa Lynch, who was swept away as she and her brother tried to cross the Surrey River in Lopinot on their way to their garden.

Up to Wednesday night her body had not been found despite searches by residents, police, members of the Fire Services Search and Rescue Unit and others.

Pollard, who had to cut the interview short as an ambulance came to take him to  hospital after he complained of spitting up blood, said he was thankful his nephew was there to save him.

Manhay, an auto air-condition technician ,said he lost everything in the flood and is hoping to get any assistance from Good Samaritans. Anyone willing to help can reach him at 266-3816.

He said friends came and helped with cleaning and making a makeshift bed for his child, but there is much more work to be done and more help needed not only for him and his family but the entire community.