Coast Guard divers search for the body of Iverson Thomas 16, at Flowerpot beach in Pointe-a-Pierre yesterday.

Sascha Wilson

In spite of the COVID-19 regulations restricting the public from going to the beaches, 16-year-old Iverson Thomas still decided for a swim at a beach in his community.

Unfortunately, Thomas of Plaisance Park, Pointe-a-Pierre paid with his life on Tuesday.

Coast Guard divers were unable to locate his body which up to late yesterday had not resurfaced.

While divers searched the Flower Pot beach for Thomas yesterday, his grandmother Anne Frederick who was among several relatives at the beach, was hopeful that he was still alive.

“I haven’t given up hope. Somehow I expect to see him alive, clinging on to some rock or something, I haven’t given up hope on him,” said Frederick.

Thomas, a student of Marabella North Secondary would have turned 17 in July and was also supposed to write the CSEC examinations that month. He lived with his father not far from the beach at Plaisance Park.

Thomas who had gone to the beach with his 19-year-old friend got into difficulties sometime after 10 am.

Guardian Media spoke with the friend who did not give his name. With tears streaming down his face, he recalled how he tried to save his friend. “I don’t feel I did enough,” he cried.

He said they swam out and was testing the depth of the sea by submerging themselves underwater, something they were accustomed doing.

Noticing that Thomas seemed to be struggling, he said he tried helping him by pushing him forward, towards the shore.

However, he had to stop because he became tired and Thomas was grabbing on to him, causing him to go underwater. He swam to shore where he alerted a man about what was happening. The man told him that he thought they were playing. At this point, he could still see Thomas head above the water. They went to search for a piece of stick or something to help them pull him out of the water, but by then it was too late. Thomas had disappeared under the water. Frederick said she heard Thomas may have gone down in a “sinkhole.” She was not certain whether her grandson asked his father’s permission before he went to the beach.

“We are in the COVID, we’re not supposed to be bathing children please listen to your parents because if they say don’t go by the sea, don’t go by the sea,” she urged.

Frederick shared a close relationship with Thomas, particularly as he was her first grandchild. She was not pleased that Coast Guard divers only began searching for Thomas yesterday. His mother Michelle Ragbir was also at the beach hoping for a miracle. Investigations are continuing.