Tiger searches for his master

TIGER, the pet dog of  lifeguard Andy Seeraj, spent most of yesterday swimming the waters off Mayaro in search of his beloved master, unable to comprehend that his master had been killed on Sunday in a freak accident with a fishing boat.

When Newsday visited the home of Wendy Seeraj, his sister, located near the beach where Seeraj lost his life, members of the family were trying to get the dog out of the water. They succeeded in doing so late yesterday afternoon. The  woman said her dead brother and his dog were “inseparable for the past two and a half years. Whenever you see one, you see the other. He is finding it hard to be without Andy since Andy loved him so much.” According to Wendy, it was around 1 pm when her brother told her he was going into the water for a swim. Conditions were calm, and there was a low to rising tide. “He was swimming just beyond the breakers,” she said, “but there were a lot of people around and he was a very good swimmer,” she added.

The police reported that Seeraj was struck and slashed by the propellers of a fishing boat on which two fishermen were aboard. According to Seeraj’s fellow lifeguard, Yusuff Ali, he (Ali) and others had to use a fishing net to pull Seeraj out of the swirling waters. Seeraj was still breathing when he was taken to shore although, according to Ali, he had been in the water struggling for more than half an hour. Ali, 50, said he responded to a call that someone was in trouble.  He did not know it was his colleague. Ali, a lifeguard with over 20 years’ experience and Seeraj’s colleague for the past eight years, said he was on mobile patrol when he got the message in Mayaro around 1 pm. He shortly dived into the sea with another lifeguard, Ian Persad, in search of Seeraj. Admitting that he was still “reeling from shock”, Ali recalled: “We searched for about 20 minutes but we couldn’t find him because the waters were so dark. I didn’t even know it was Andy we were looking for.”

As the minutes ticked by and with Seeraj still under the water, Ali and the other lifeguard decided to drag the seabed with a seine (a fishing net) in an effort to retrieve the body. Within an hour, Seeraj was brought up in the fishing net. One of his hands was almost completely severed and there was a deep gash on the side of his head plus several cuts and bruises about the body. According to Ali, Seeraj was still alive when he was rushed to the Mayaro District Hospital. “It is a real tragedy how Andy died and a real loss to the lifeguard service,” Ali said.  Mayaro lifeguards, in full regalia, will perform a guard of honour duty at the funeral service, scheduled for Wednesday. Seeraj’s grieving sister, Wendy, 30, said her family was having a hard time coming to grips with the sudden death.

Seeraj’s stepfather, Romeo Alibocas, believed that negligence on the part of the boat captain was responsible for the unfortunate incident. “I can’t understand why he was driving the boat so close to the shore when there was a crowd of people bathing in the water. While accidents can and do happen, sometimes it is due to negligence,” Alibocas said.  An autopsy, carried out at the Forensic Sciences Centre yesterday by Pathologist. Dr Hughvon Des Vignes, revealed Seeraj died of asphyxia consistent with drowning. Mayaro police are continuing investigations. In tears, Wendy described her elder brother as the “peacemaker” in the family and someone who had a soft spot for animals.


"Tiger searches for his master"

More in this section