Search for woman swept away in floods – NO SIGN OF THERESA
LOPINOT woman Theresa Lynch remained unaccounted for up to Thursday evening, despite exhaustive searches throughout the day by police, firemen, Lopinot villagers, her relatives and friends and members of the Hunters Search and Rescue Team.
At 6 pm, with sunlight rapidly fading, the search was called off for the day.
Lynch was swept away by strong currents while trying to cross the Surrey River in Lopinot just after midday on Wednesday. Police said she and her brother William Ramlogan were on their way to tend to their garden when she was swept away.
Her brother tried to pull her to safety, but the currents slammed him into rocks and he had to abandon his efforts in order to save himself.
The search on Thursday was meticulous with crews walking along riverbanks as well as in the watercourses. The Hunter Search and Rescue Team joined relatives and residents, along with members of the Fire Service's Search and Rescue Unit.
The search party was split into two groups, with one searching in lower Lopinot and Arouca and the other searching in other areas of the Caroni River. The search started at 9 am at the Arouca River not far from the Arima Old Road, with over 30 hunters and a handful of police officers.
A murder in Oropune Gardens, at 2 pm, hampered the search, since police prevented the search parties from walking along the banks of the Caroni River near Oropune Gardens, where the officers were looking for gunmen involved in that killing.
Police sources said several men jumped out of the getaway car used by the gunmen and ran into bushes near the river.
"What we did this morning was, we completed searches of the Surrey River and the Lopinot River from the Arima Old Road up to the Priority Bus Route," said head of the Hunters Search and Rescue Team Vallence Rambharath.
"We were asked to stand down by the police ,who said specific areas of the riverbank were an active crime scene," he added.
During the searches in the morning, Lynch's relatives milled around nearby. When Newsday tried to speak to them, they said they were not in a proper frame of mind to speak.
Later in the day, Newsday met up with a team of fire officers as they prepared to join in the search at the river in Trincity, part of which runs under the Churchill Roosevelt Highway. Word spread just after 2.30 pm of a body being found in the Caroni River nearby. After more than two hours of searching, the information was deemed false.
Speaking to the media later in the afternoon, Lynch's sister Judy Rambaran said the family remains hopeful she will be found soon.
"She is a person who loved her friends. She was a sweet person.
"We still here holding out hope.
"Right now her daughter and husband are not coping well. My parents are not coping well.
"They (Lynch and her brother) normally go up there because they have a garden, and from what the people who was with them said, they didn't experience much rain on Wednesday when she was swept away."
During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Faris Al-Rawi said, "Our hearts and minds and prayers are with Theresa Lynch and her family. We pray (even) as we scout every aspect of the route and waterways that are connected together that she has somehow survived after being swept away."
The search will resume today.
"Search for woman swept away in floods – NO SIGN OF THERESA"