Archbishop Jason Gordon was able to pray for drowning victim Lyndon Clement last week moments after his death having unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate him.
Gordon was at the diocesan retreat house in Blanchisseuse last Friday when he responded to shouts for help from people on the beach when Clement got into difficulty and later attempted CPR on the victim. However, Clement, 27, of Arima, subsequently died.
In confirming the incident with Guardian Media on Sunday, Gordon said after on checking for a pulse while administering CPR and getting no response, he prayed for Clement and his soul and asked: “God’s mercy upon him.”
Clement was reportedly swimming when he got into difficulty and disappeared under the water at Surf’s Beach, Damian Bay, despite the then ongoing restriction on bathing at beaches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gordon deal with the matter in an article which was published on the Catholic News’ website over the weekend. Contacted yesterday on the matter, Gordon confirmed the incident and referred the T&T Guardian to his release to the Catholic News.
In the article, Gordon recalled, “While on the verandah, I heard some noise from the water and looked out to see what was happening. There were two men who seemed to be treading water far from the shore who were about 20 feet apart drifting westward. One man appeared to be in distress. I left the house and went to the beach where some people organised a boogie board and a towline to rescue the man. When they brought him onto the beach, I cleared his throat and began to administer CPR.”
While administering CPR, Gordon said he asked those around to contact the Blanchisseuse Health Centre.
“The police were the first to arrive. Then the nurse arrived. I gave the police the information I had and returned to the house.”
Gordon told Catholic News that it is always a tragedy to see someone lose their life.
“The sense of helplessness when you cannot reach in time. Yesterday’s (Friday) incident was tragic, it was difficult, but I am okay.”
The Archbishop offered condolences to Clement’s children and family and later prayed for him at Mass on Friday evening.
Police officers who responded to the incident said Clement and three friends had driven to the beach and while the others opted to stay out of the choppy waters, Clement still made the decision to go for a swim. Clement, who was a father of two girls, was employed as a security officer. His family also said they did not know he had gone to the beach that day.