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Police officers at the Cipero River at Riverside Drive, San Fernando, yesterday where a man only identified as Samuel drowned.

With trying times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of young men went hunting iguanas to make money to purchase schools books and groceries.

But, tragedy struck when a 21-year-old man lost his life while trying to swim across the Cipero River. He has only been identified as Samuel from Pleasantville.

With the hunting season officially opened yesterday, the four friends went to the river at Riverside Drive, San Fernando. They met a man who offered to take them to an area where they could the iguanas. They followed the man who then spotted an iguana on the other side of the river.

In an interview with Guardian Media, one of the young men who is a 16-year-old and cannot be identified because he is a minor recalled that the man told them two people had to go to catch the iguana. The man then swam across the river.

He urged Samuel not to go into the water if he could not swim.

“I say Sammy you could swim. He say, ‘yes,’ and then at the bank here he take about five minutes thinking if to do it or not and when I watch that I say Sammy if you know you can’t swim don’t do it and he still swim across. I say if you can’t swim don’t do it, don’t risk your life for something that is not important and he swim across and suddenly he just drown,” the teenager recalled.

When they saw him in difficulties, he said they called out the man to help them, but he took a while before he went to help his friend.

By that time, he said Samuel had already been “fighting up” for about ten minutes and he then disappeared below the water.

The teen said the man swam up and down the river searching, but could not find Samuel.

The teenager said he was troubled about what happened because when he and the others went to Samuel’s house his mother initially said he wasn’t home.

“And to bring him here now and he went in the water to help us catch guana and thing.”

The teen said they planned on selling any iguanas caught to make some money.

Up to press time, Samuel’s body was not recovered. Officers from the Mon Repos Fire Service and San Fernando Police Station were on the scene. Investigations are continuing.