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Shivanie Ramkarran, who drowned at Mayaro beach on Monday.

What was supposed to have been a continuation of their birthday celebration turned into a nightmare after 24-year-old Shivanie Ramkarran drowned at a beach at Guayaguayare, Mayaro Easter Monday.

Trying to hold back the tears, Ramkarran’s boyfriend Jonathan Loutan recounted how they screamed for help and his desperate attempt to save her as they drifted deeper into the ocean.

The tragedy occurred one day after fire officer Stephen Marcano lost his life while trying to save his relatives from drowning at a beach along the same coastline.

He had taken his wife to the beach to celebrate her birthday on Sunday. Ramkarran and Jonathan both celebrated their birthday on Sunday. On Easter Monday they went with his relatives to a beach off Double Bridge, but sometime after 5 pm tragedy struck.

In an interview at his Gasparillo home, 25-year-old Loutan said, “The water was knee-high and all of a sudden it start to get rough and the water just coming up and coming up and wave just coming over and over and the sand had holes in the floor. Each time I hop my way to the top of the bank is because a wave knocking you and you going back down in the hole. She was screaming. She was bawling for help. I was bawling for help. She was real panicking. I try to help she. I try pushing, but each time I push she is like I going into the water back, but I still pushing I pushing. Each time I raise up my hand is like I going down in the water because I have to keep coming back up.”

He said his cousin and friend were also in difficulties, but they made it back to shore safely.

Loutan said they had drifted so far out to sea that everyone onshore looked like ants. “A next wave come and when I come back up is because she was panicking so much she was going towards the wave I had to turn she around.”

Recalling her last words, Loutan said, “I could hear she bawling babe. She said babe a few times and I kept telling she paddle, paddle, push, push and I was pushing she too. I could hear she coughing. I could hear you know when the water go down your throat, I was hearing all of that when she start to cough it out.”

Eventually, his father Joash Loutan realised that they were in trouble and went to help them. He pulled Jonathan to the back of him.

“Shivanie was about ten feet away from we. She was floating upside down. I went and get she. I turn she over and try and get some water out she mouth.”

When he got her to shore, he said a beachgoer tried to resuscitate her while they called the ambulance.

They eventually took her to the Mayaro District Health Hospital where attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful. Upset that the ambulance never came, he said, “Ten, 15 people call the ambulance, the ambulance never reach when we carry she to the centre is two brand new ambulance park up in the compound and no one there to drive it…That is very poor, that is very bad.”

Loutan, 25, a mechanic, said he has already built his house and he had planned to marry Rambarran and start a family with her.

Rambarran, the first of her parents’ two children, was supposed to have graduated next month from Costtatt with a business management degree. Described as a fun, loving and obedient young woman, her mother Camille Rambarran told reporters at their Barrackpore home that her daughter could not swim but she loved the beach. She did not hear about the other drowning on Sunday, but the mother said she was comfortable with her going to the beach with her boyfriend.

“She does never go far and she was with her boyfriend. He always have Shivanie safe. She never went anywhere with him and it was not safe. He always took good care of she like if she was a child to him also.” Expressing sadness over the death of Rambarran and Marcano, Mayaro MP Rushton Paray said lifeguards were on duty throughout the weekend, but the drownings took place where no lifeguards were stationed.

“While it is impossible to patrol the entire 17 miles of beaches, I have made repeated requests to the Government to designate safe bathing zones along the Mayaro-Manzanilla stretch. These zones should comprise of lifeguards, medics, parking facilities, security officers, washrooms, concessionaires and shoreline maintenance.”

He said Marcano deserved posthumous praise and acknowledgement from the national authorities for his heroic actions.