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Sep 28, 1998

Radio announcer drowns on staff trip

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In other news from the world of broadcasting, it was supposed to have been a day of relaxation in Corozal for the staff of Love FM But what started out as a fun trip quickly turned nightmarish as a member of the Love crew fell victim to the waters of the Four Mile Lagoon. Twenty-six year old announcer Kenrick Bonnel and a six year old girl were in a small peddle-powered boat when Bonnel apparently jumped off to turn the vessel around. According to colleague Wilhelm Johnson, efforts to save the drowning man, who was known to be a non-swimmer, were unsuccessful.

Wilhelm Johnson, Announcer, LOVE FM

“So making my way towards where Bonnel was in the little boat, I saw him stand up in the boat and he jumped into the water. When he jumped in the water, I was quite some distance away from Bonnel but I was paddling towards him anyway. I saw him come up one, two… the third time he did not come back up. So that’s when the guys behind me said listen, he’s down on the bottom of the water a little too long, so I started to paddle a little faster.

So I got to the spot and I saw the trail of bubbles in the water. I wasn’t thinking anything but try to save Bonnel. So I jumped in the water, dived all the way down where it was pitch dark at the bottom and I saw him to the bottom of the lagoon, spread out, arms spread out. I held him by his shirt and I brought him up above water and I cried out for help.

And immediately after the other guys, who were following behind, reached where I was because my boat had already drifted. I used the last strength that I had and I put him on the boat. Putting him on the boat, I asked the guys to please pull him up and when they made an attempt to pull him up, water started to seep into the boat and that particular boat capsized with Kenrick, with the other two guys, myself still being in the water. Those two guys fight for their lives at that time, swam towards the capsized boat and held unto it. Then I realize I was alone in the water again, so I swam towards where my boat was and Kenrick’s body went back under.”

Bonnel’s lifeless body was pulled from the lagoon several hours later and taken to the Corozal hospital where a postmortem examination confirmed that death was caused by drowning. Funeral services for the late Kenrick Bonnel will be held on Tuesday afternoon at St. Joseph’s Church in Belize City.

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