MATTHEW Sookoo, the 14-year-old Cedros student who fell overboard at sea in a boat accident, remained missing up to Sunday.
Since his disappearance at about 3.45 pm on Saturday, relatives and residents have been searching non-stop. They believe the search and rescue efforts have turned into a recovery one since they believe Matthew was injured by the boat’s propeller.
Matthew, a form three student of Cedros Secondary school, would turn 15 in July.
Scores of relatives and villagers gathered at the beach in Fullarton Village. Matthew’s worried father, Marlon Sookoo, 43, a fisherman who lives a stone’s throw away at Beach Road, said some men were testing out a new boat on Saturday.
The father and son were at the beach near where the men were preparing to go into the water. Matthew asked his father to go out with the men to “try out” the new 29-foot boat.
“I told him he is not going unless I am going. I turned my back, and he left,” Sookoo said.
“That was it. Sometimes he does what he wants to do. Plenty of times, he would ask to do certain things and when we relatives tell him no, he would still do it and get through,” Sookoo said.
“But yesterday (Saturday) he did not get through. It seemed the captain lost control of the boat. Matthew was the youngest of the five people on board. It seemed the engine propeller hit him and threw him overboard.”
Newsday was told two other men from the boat received injuries. They also joined in the search for the missing boy.
Sookoo’s wife, Shanti, 34, was too emotional to speak on Sunday. Surrounded by relatives who consoled her, the mother of two looked out at sea, desperately hoping to see her son.
Matthew’s weeping grandmother, Bhagmanee Sookoo, 62, was inconsolable as she too sat on a chair looking out at sea.
The grandmother called for Matthew to “come home,” saying he was taking too long.
“Where the child gone? Matthew, where you? So long he taking to come. Come home, Matthew,” the grandmother said between sobs.
One of Matthew’s uncles, Anderson Seepaul, said that he never expected the tragedy. He fondly calls Matthew “Curry duck”.
He complained that while fishermen immediately searched for the boy on Saturday, officers from the nearby Coast Guard base responded on Sunday.
Cedros police are investigating.