Kelan Kevin Jn Baptiste still has not seen the face of the man who saved his life. All the 24-year-old remembers is what others have told him about the “Spanish fella” who sprung into action to rescue him minutes after Kelan himself jumped into waters off the shores of Cap Estate to help two co-workers who’d run into difficulty at sea. The two men who’d spurred Kelan’s heroic decision were Keiron Cornibert and Curtis ‘Curtie’ Prospere. Both lost their lives in the tragic incident on Sunday, January 15th.
Before things took a disastrous turn, Kelan and other subcontracted workers of the Royalton Resort had been attending an after-work get-together on the beach. One of the men who attended the event told the STAR: “A bunch of us were on work in the morning and decided to have a cookout after work. They said they were going to catch the fish, barbeque or whatever. So after work, at about 3, those who were finished work assembled on the beach, and these two fellas decided to go out to catch fish.”
Despite being discouraged by the others against going out into the rough seas, Keiron and Curtis persisted.
“One fella even offered to pay the two of them not to go because of how the water was,” the man, also a worker at the resort, told the STAR.
The two friends decided to head out anyway. Not long after that their vessel, reportedly a kayak, started pulling in water, apparently through a previously undetected hole.
“The rasta guy couldn’t swim,” the worker said. “So when the boat went down he started panicking. The other guy started swimming to shore. When he realized his friend was drowning, he turned back to save him.”
Eyewitnesses say Curtis’s leg got stuck in the fishing net they’d taken along with them, and that was when disaster struck.
“He started going down. He started screaming different names of friends who were on the shore for help.”
One of those friends was Kelan, who was in the water in the blink of an eye. A battle between Kelan and the rough seas ended with him being tossed onto nearby rocks, with Curtis still struggling to stay afloat. Holding on for dear life, the next thing Kelan remembers is waking up in an ambulance on the way to hospital. Eyewitnesses say it was the mystery stranger who everyone remembers only as the “Spanish fella” who saved his life.
“Kelan was holding on to the rocks and the fourth guy dove into the water. He said afterward that he grabbed Curtis’s hand but the waves hit hard, and it slipped out. So he ended up going down. The Spanish guy was a strong swimmer but even he was having a hard time staying above the water. When he came up again, and noticed that Kelan was slipping into the water, he went after him, pulled him onto shore and administered CPR.”
The body of Curtis Prospere was discovered by marine police some time after 6 p.m. that same day, while Keiron Cornibert was found on Tuesday, January 17th. Co-workers are still struggling to come to terms with their deaths.
In a separate incident, the body of another man washed up on a Gros Islet beach on Thursday, January 19th. According to the police press relations department, autopsy results have confirmed that the 29-year-old, Murquid Annerville, died as a result of drowning. Annerville was originally from Dennery and resided on Chapel Street, Gros Islet.