Forty-two hours of a painful search for Fullerton teenager Matthew Sookoo ended yesterday when villagers recovered his body floating near a neighbouring village.
Matthew’s father, Marlon, said that a crew began searching the coast off Cedros early Monday morning and found the eldest of his two sons floating off a village known as Chip Chip. It was near Columbus Bay, almost to the shore.
Matthew, 14, drowned after he fell out of a fishing pirogue that he and five other men boarded around 4 pm on Saturday. According to Sookoo, his cousin recently bought a new pirogue and two engines, so a group of them went to test it at sea. He said they went to shore to remove an engine and return to the sea for another trial.
Matthew asked to accompany the crew on the trip, but his father told him that he could not go unless he (Marlon) or their cousin was there. However, Matthew went ahead.
One of the crewmen told Guardian Media that the captain lost control of the pirogue, causing it to spin uncontrollably. It tossed everyone around, throwing Matthew out of the boat. While he can swim, Marlon said one of the men told him that the engine’s propeller struck Matthew on his head. Two other crewmen suffered blows to their heads. After searching without success, villagers called the Coast Guard, who deployed vessels and a helicopter. However, sea conditions and fading light took the search into the following days.
Sookoo said they took Matthew’s body to shore at the Cedros Security Complex, where it awaited an examination by a District Medical Officer.