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Aug 6, 2019

An SUV Plunges into the Haulover Creek Near Swing Bridge

An accident in downtown Belize City this morning caused a stir for commuters in the heavily trafficked area. But for two women, it was a scary ordeal when their SUV plunged into the Haulover Creek near the Swing Bridge around eight o’clock. A Good Samaritan, however, was joined by a fisherman and both bravely jumped into the river to assist the women.  The women were traveling pass Ocean Ferry when the brakes to the SUV gave way and after slamming into two vehicles, the SUV plunged into the river. Here is News Five’s Isani Cayetano. 

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

An act of great courage by a security officer in downtown Belize City saved the lives of a pair of women this morning when a red sports utility vehicle they were traveling in plunged into the Haulover Creek just below the Swing Bridge.  Fifty-eight-year-old Mark McKenzie, an employee of AAA Security stationed at Pink Boutique, wasted no time diving into the murky water to come to their rescue.  He recalls observing the Kia Sportage and in a split second there was a loud bang.

 

Mark McKenzie, First Responder

Mark McKenzie

“I saw the vehicle coming down North Front Street, a motorcycle coming around the other corner and the red vehicle coming from in front of Ocean Ferry.  Just in a glimpse of moment that I turned I heard a large, a hard noise and when I turned around I saw the motorcycle spinning in the middle of the street, the red vehicle going with full speed straight across to where some people were eating tacos beside the bridge, hit the point of the bridge and broke it down going…  Well that kind of shielded the people from the tacos because that heaved the vehicle off.  It was going directly on  of them.”

 

At the foot of the bridge, near its northern approach, Alejandro Gonzalez, a fixture in that area where he is well-known for embroidering belts and other trinkets, was just getting started on a job when the sports utility vehicle came barreling towards him.

 

Alejandro Gonzalez

Alejandro Gonzalez, Eyewitness

“Well dis mawnin I start to work my belts when I hyah wahn big noise da di corner ah di bridge.  When I look I sih di car di come ova me and knock down tacos stand, meat fly ova di people dehn and ih look fu cova my eye and I had to jump outta di way and ker mi equipment weh I di work pan and gaan da river from me.  That’s it.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“When the vehicle plunged into the river what happened next?  What did you see or what did you do?”

 

Alejandro Gonzalez

“Well di gyal staat to bawl.  Di gyal staat to bawl help, help.  Di fishaman weh deh pan di bridge, he always di throw ih net, so he jump fu help di gyal and when ih get een deh wahn next gyal deh een deh weh seh she cyant swim, so he leff dah one deh weh ih mi help out and she mi done deh out di try half swim and ih gaan afta di next one and then wahn next security guard from Pinks he jump eena di river too and he, he da swim man so he help di gyal out and di next one help di gyal out.”

According to Belize City police, twenty-two-year-old Jasmine Smith was driving the Kia SUV when its brakes gave way.  She collided into a motorcycle driven by thirty-eight-year-old Cordell Baptist and clipped a parked vehicle, before thrusting into the river.

 

Mark Mckenzie

“I saw people jump and I saw a lady fell.  Immediately, well the assistance, the assistance knowledge came to me and I ran towards the people at the tacos [stand] to assist, thinking that the lady was hurt but I saw they only got bathed with their sauce and the vehicle directed to the river.  So I decided to run to the river because people were inside the vehicle.  I saw nobody respond but I couldn’t wait to see anybody’s response, I had to do what I had to do so I just dash mi shoes off, put mi phone down and jumped to the river.  I started chasing down the vehicle because the vehicle was floating down in the current and I was trying to reach it.”

 

Inside the vehicle along with Smith was a thirteen-year-old girl.  McKenzie, a retired police officer, and the fisherman worked quickly against the flow of water to rescue the pair.

 

Mark McKenzie

“I finally reached it how I could and we helped the lady out.  Another man around there was throwing his net and he also jumped to the water and came to assist however we could.  We took out the lady and her daughter and delivered them on the wharf at Ocean Ferry.”

 

It all happened so suddenly and Gonzalez admits that it could have ended differently were it not for quick thinking and decisive action.

 

Antonio Gonzalez

“Dah me ih come fa.  Di same time when I realize da wahn accident and one lee jump save me fi true.  One lee jump save me mein.”

 

The driver of the motorcycle, thirty-eight-year-old Cordell Baptist received a large cut wound to his right leg, while the occupants of the other vehicle involved in the collision escaped with minor injuries.

 

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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