Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, left, retired public service head Reginald Dumas, second right and Dr Ralph Henry, of Kairi Consultants Ltd, applaud Ferdie Ferreira during his book launching in 2017.

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A bodyguard who rescued a couple who were swept away in their vehicle by floodwaters last Thursday, is grateful that he was in the right place at the right time to save them.

The couple Michael Gomes rescued turned out to be longtime People’s National Movement stalwart Ferdie Ferreira, 89, and his wife Pearl, 83.

Last Thursday, heavy rains lead to flooding along the Macqueripe Road in Chaguaramas, leading the river to burst its banks.

At some stage during the flooding, Ferreira and his wife were heading along the roadway in their Toyota Corolla when they got to a point where the road was flooded and attempted to cross in their vehicle. However, the vehicle was swept away by the raging floodwaters.

The Toyota Corolla vehicle owned by Ferdie Ferreira being pulled out of the river in Macqueripe, Chaguaramas.

“I got a phone call that an elderly couple driving a burgundy Toyota Corolla attempted to cross the flooded waters across the Macqueripe main road. They were swept away into the flowing waters,” Gomes told Guardian Media in a voice note recounting the incident yesterday.

“I immediately called the inspector of the CDA (Chaguaramas Development Authority), inspector Dole, informing him of the situation, where he did inform the army, Coast Guard and also an ambulance. I also asked him for a map of that area and where the river runs and leads to.”

Gomes told Guardian Media that he was able to gain access to a telehandler and operator from his boss to assist them in their efforts to rescue the couple. Gomes is the head of security at the UPick Farms.

“After about half an hour of search, almost 200 meters inside the muddy terrain, we found the elderly couple. They were traumatised but okay,” Gomes said.

Michael Gomes

Gomes and the operator first removed the couple from the vehicle and they were taken to the St James Medical Complex to be examined. Gomes and his team of rescuers then removed the vehicle from where it was lodged in the mud and shrubbery.

“Good thing we were around that we could have saved them,” Gomes said.

A video of the removal of the video was posted on social media last week. At the time, however, the social media users were unaware of the events prior to the removal of the car from the floodwaters and who was involved. The information of those involved in the frightful incident came to light over the weekend.

Efforts to contact Ferreira yesterday were unsuccessful as calls to his cellphone went unanswered.

This was the second time in recent weeks that persons has been swept away by floodwaters.

Earlier this month, Princes Town resident Anthony Walkes died after he was swept away by floodwaters while crossing a bridge in Hardbargain, Williamsville, as he got trapped in heavy rains while going to see a relative. His body was recovered in the Guaracara River days later.