Students Yanik Quesnel, 17, of Cascade and his friend Carolina Barry-Laso, 16, of Spain are warded with multiple broken bones and severe head injuries. They were airlifted from Tobago on Wednesday and were warded in the Intensive Care Unit at the Port-of-Spain Hospital. Last evening, Barry-Laso was moved from ICU to Ward 14.
Quesnel’s relatives who were outside the ICU at the hospital said they were very worried and were praying for the full recovery of both students.
According to police reports, the teens were in the sea during low tide and were in five to six feet deep waters, approximately 15 feet from shore at Pigeon Point when at about 5.30 pm, they were struck by the bow of the pirogue which then sailed right over them.
Barry-Laso sustained a broken arm and her left leg was broken in five places. Her skull was fractured and she had two major lacerations to her head. Quesnel’s head injury was so severe, that doctors were yesterday still trying to stabilise him before urgent surgery can be done.
Chad Quesnel, Yanik’s uncle, told Newsday his nephew and Barry-Laso, who are students at a university in Costa Rica arrived in the country ten days ago and went to Tobago to enjoy a few days. Barry-Laso was expected to return to Spain today.
He said the two were bathing when they were struck by the pirogue whose captain apparently did not see them in the water. The two received assistance on the beach from an American doctor Dr Monique Binford and her boyfriend, who jumped into the water and brought the teens to the beach where first aid was rendered.
According to Quesnel, Dr Monique Binford and her boyfriend who were in the pirogue which sailed over the teens, jumped into the sea and brought both Yanik and Barry-Laso to shore.
On shore, another doctor - Trinidadian Dr Catherine Minto-Bain joined the other two doctors in stabilising the teens while a call was made for an ambulance which arrived 45 minutes later.
Quesnel praised the efforts of the doctors at Scarborough Hospital who worked around the clock to stabilise Yanik and Barry-Laso.
“In the face of this tragedy, we salute the medical professionals and ordinary citizens who assisted and in their own ways became our heroes,” Quesnel said.
He added that he was told there was no safety regulations in place at Pigeon Point to protect bathers from boats.
Yesterday, Barry-Laso’s head was heavily bandaged and a monitor was at her bedside keeping check of her vital signs. She barely spoke to the two members of the Quesnel family and visitors were restricted. At the ICU, only Quesnel’s parents, grandparents, sister and nephew were allowed to visit.
Barry-Laso’s mother is expected in the country tomorrow from Spain. Tobago police have since interviewed the captain of the pirogue and are continuing investigations.