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(SNO) – A veteran scuba dive instructor with Sandals Resorts has been hailed a hero for saving the lives of two people who fell off ‘The Pearl’ during a boat-ride party on the afternoon of Friday, July 13.
“You are a hero!!! Keep up the good work,” Selma Simon wrote on his Facebook profile.
Christine Bartlett-Josie said, “I see you saved two lives!!” while Helen Alexandra Jean added, “Aa u are a hero coco.”
The diver is St. Rose Jacobie, also known as ‘Sexy Chocolate’ and ‘Trini’. He has been a dive instructor for some 20 years with the hotel chain.
He told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) on Monday, July 16, that the resort, which is responsible for all his training, is to be credited for his quick sense of action and his skills in the water on that memorable day.
He said had he acted a minute slower, the people – a man and a woman – would have drowned.
The incident occurred about 4 p.m. when the boat was in the vicinity of the Roseau beach, heading back to Rodney Bay from Canaries, a crew member had told SNO in an earlier story.
Jacobie said when he got into the water, the man had already sunk, while the woman was fighting to stay afloat.
The veteran diver said the man was lucky to have a dread-lock hairstyle. He was able to grab the sinking man’s “locks” and pull him to the surface.
Two crew members jumped in shortly after and assisted Jacobie.
Both persons were brought to the boat in a conscious state, but the female was taken to Gros Islet poly-clinic as soon as the boat arrived in Rodney Bay. The man reportedly sought medical treatment later on.
A video of the rescue has gone viral.
“Look a head going under, Aa. Look a head going under, Jesus Christ,” a female says in one of the videos.
Jacobie expressed that the video only told a small part of the story. He believes that his presence on the boat was a blessing.
He explained what happened from start to finish.
“A group of friends of mine from out of town came to Saint Lucia for the carnival celebrations. We decided to go on the JOB boat ride on Friday. About three-quarter way into the ride, a young man and lady were dancing on what appeared to be a piece of plywood that blocks the entrance/exist of the vessel.
“The plywood seemingly gave way behind them and both fell off the boat. I was at the time standing right next to them. Immediately, I ran to the upper deck of the boat and ran from the top and dived into the water. I was able to reach the gentleman first. He was already descending and I was able to pull him to the surface of the water by his dread locks. He seemed motionless.
“I then had to swim to the lady, holding onto the guy with my right hand. I attempted to pull the lady above the water with my left hand. In panic, she held onto me by my neck. I then put her into the cross-neck tow position. I tried to stabilise them until the vessel was able to turn around and return to us. The crew from the vessel jumped in and provided assistance.”
Jacobie said ironically the man he saved was the one who sold him the ticket to the boat ride.
“The individual who fell off the boat was the one who sold me the ticket. I did not have any tickets to go to the boat ride and a friend called me and said that there was an individual who had three tickets for sale, as all the tickets were sold out and that he wanted to sell them. And that’s how we got onto the boat,” Jacobie said.
The diver pointed out that the crew members can’t be everywhere at once and that the persons who were saved were just lucky and blessed to have been standing next to a diver when they fell.
Jacobie, as well as a crew member, told our newsroom that the rescued persons did not appear to have been intoxicated.
It was just a freak accident that almost became a national tragedy.
Below are the video clips of the incident that were submitted to our reporter.