Dad drowned while rescuing girl described as hero

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Otis Morrison drowned while at Clifton Hill beach, Point Fortin.

POINT FORTIN MP Kennedy Richards Jr says Otis Morrison, 36, who sacrificed his own life to save a girl who was drowning at Guapo Beach on Monday, died a hero.

“Unfortunately this hero did not get the opportunity to return to his wife and daughters,” Richards told the Newsday on Wednesday.

Morrison’s mother, Christine Jordan Morrison, said while she takes some small comfort in the knowledge that he lost his life while doing a good deed, “The fact is that I lost my son.”

Appealing for lifeguards to be stationed on the popular Guapo Beach, especially on public holidays, Jordan Morrison speculated, “If there were lifeguards on that beach, my son may have been alive today.

“All other beaches have lifeguard. Why Clifton Hill have to be the slackest beach in TT and not have lifeguards? People from all over come to this beach, especially on holidays.

“The girl my son rescued is not even from this area. We were told she is from Princes Town.”

Morrison’s widow Keishallene Morrison agreed if there had been lifeguards her husband would not have tried to rescue the girl who was in distress, leave her a widow and their two daughters – ages 11 and eight – fatherless.

The two women spoke to the media from Morrison’s home at Salick Street, Guapo, at Gonzales Village, Point Fortin, on Wednesday.

Saying she was numb, Keishallene recalled being with her husband, their younger daughter and her sister when tragedy struck.

The beach outing was not planned, as Morrison, a boat engineer with Colour Fin and owner of a private garage, was waiting a client for who was scheduled to bring in his vehicle for repair.

When some time passed and he did not show up, Morrison decided to give in to his younger daughter’s request to go to the beach.

Keishallene said they had been in the water for some time when there was a cry for help.

She said her husband, who was a good swimmer, was among the first to respond. She said he called out to people on nearby jet skis, helped to rescue the young girl and put her on one of the jet skis.

“Then I saw him raise up his hands and I said something was wrong with Otis. Other people nearby said nothing was wrong with him.

“Then I saw other beachgoers start to pull him up and out from the beach, to the shore and started to do CPR (cardioplumonary resusucitation).

“When they pulled him out they were saying he still had a pulse. A nurse who was really helpful – I think her name is Joan Isaac – really tried to help. She talked to me and gave me hope. I really thank God for her.”

That hope died shortly after, as the nurse was unable to resuscitate him. Morrison was taken to the nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Devastated by the incident, Keishallene said her daughters keep asking why this happened to their daddy.

The couple, who had known each other for 17 years, were married two years ago and had a loving relationship. His widow said he was selfless, always helping others.

“He was a good father, caring loving.”

Richards said Guapo Beach (formerly Clifton Hill Beach) is one of the safest beaches in the country, and usually calm, but he would look into the whole aspect of providing safety for bathers.