[UPDATED] Tree falls, kills farmer in Biche

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Samaroo Ragoonanan –

What was supposed to be a relaxing weekend with friends turned deadly after a tree fell on 55-year-old Samaroo Ragoonanan while he was on a fishing trip in the Biche forest.

On Saturday, Ragoonanan and a group of men left for the Biche forest, hoping to catch cascadura –a type of freshwater fish. The trip was supposed to last until Monday.

Ragoonanan died in the forest on Sunday morning.

His younger brother Ravi Ragoonanan spoke to Newsday, weeping as he lay in a hammock at the family’s O’Brien Trace, Biche, home on Sunday.

He described his brother as a quiet, hardworking man who loved animals and the outdoors and mostly kept to himself. He said his brother enjoyed fishing, saying this was his first fishing trip for the year and he was excited about it.

Ravi said while this was Ragoonanan’s first weekend trip for the year, it was not his first time and he was familiar with the area.

“He didn’t have any children, he wasn’t married. He would work in his garden, which is just up the road from here and he always helped with his two nephews when it came time for school. He really loved animals: he has two rabbits, two cats and two dogs.”

As Ravi spoke, his brother’s black-and-white female cat, affectionately called Kitty, lay nearby, looking on as a white van with a group of men pulled up to load plastic chairs in preparation for the wake later on.

Ragoonanan’s teenage nephews also sat quietly as his brother recounted the events that led to their uncle’s death early Sunday morning. Ravi described the tragedy as a “freak accident.”

Ravi said he was at home when his brother-in-law, who had also gone fishing with Ragoonanan and three other men, called around 6 am to let the family know what had happened.

“They said Samaroo went to find a spot to use the bathroom, which wasn’t too far from them, about 100 metres away. My brother-in-law said they heard when the tree fell but didn’t really think anything about it.

“After he didn’t come back, they began looking for him. They thought it was strange, but never did they think he was dead.”

During their search they found him motionless under the tree.

Ravi said the news came as a shock to the family, and his 77-year-old mother has not been doing well since.

Ravi Ragoonanan speaks to Newsday at his Biche home on February 25, hours after his brother Samaroo Ragoonanan was killed by a falling tree in the Biche forest. – Photo by Roger Jacob

When Newsday arrived at the home around 4 pm, the distraught man said other relatives, along with the men who had gone fishing with his brother, were on their way out of the La Salle Road forest with his brother’s body.

He said the fishing party had settled closer to the Nariva Swamp at the time of the accident, and it would take approximately three hours for them to carry the body out.

“The police say the emergency helicopter is not working, so they could not lift the body out.”

Frustrated by the poor communication between Biche police and homicide officers, he said, “Since morning, his body has been under the tree.

“Biche police said they were told by Homicide that the body could not be removed without the DMO visiting the scene, and this back and forth went on for a bit. They then said they would move the body tomorrow (Monday) morning, then they called and gave us the go-ahead.”

Ravi said the family was advised they could remove the body and relatives, along with the hunting party, went back to assist with the retrieval. The grieving man said because of the time they were given the okay to remove the body, he hoped rescuers would make it out before sunset.

“My mother is waiting on the road for them to bring his body out.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to go, but she wanted to be there when they brought her son out.”

Despite his frustration over the recovery of his brother’s body, he said the police had been helpful and had been communicating with the family, offering support.

Ravi said the area where the men fished is swampland connected to the Nariva Swamp. Due to this, the men waited until the dry season for their weekend excursion, as they thought it would be safer to do so.

Newsday spoke to a neighbour, who did not give his name. He described Ragoonanan as quiet and hardworking, saying he last spoke to Ragoonanan on Thursday as he was returning from his garden. He said they chatted, and Ragoonanan briefly mentioned his trip. He said the news has shocked the entire community.

This story was originally published with the title “Tree falls, kills hunter in Biche” and has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

A 55-year-old hunter is dead after a tree fell on him.

The man, identified as Samaroo Ragoonanan of Obrien Trace, Biche, was out hunting with friends in a forested area at La Salelle Road in Biche when he disappeared.

Police were called by Ragoonanan’s friends and officers found him some time later motionless under the tree early Sunday morning.

This is a developing story and it will be updated when more information becomes available.