BY RADHICA SOOKRAJ
An Icacos fisherman sacrificed himself to save one of his companions, after they were thrown into the sea by Venezuelan pirates on Saturday.
Although he could not swim, Rupert Bissoon, 54, handed a life jacket to his young cousin Deodath Bissoon, who was struggling to stay afloat.
Survivors Denver Beharry, 28, and Deodath, 17, spent seven hours adrift before they were rescued by a search party.
However, up to late yesterday the Coast Guard had not found the body of Bissoon, of 113 Icacos Village, Cedros.
Bissoon is believed to have drowned about a mile off the coast of Venezuela.
Police said around 10.30 am, the trio were shrimping off the Venezuelan mainland in their 22-foot pirogue Sandra, when a white boat came alongside them.
Beharry said: We did not know they were robbers. One of the men just looked at us and pulled out a gun.
He said two of the bandits were Venezuelans, but the third looked like a Trinidadian.
He wore a mask and carried the gun, Beharry said.
Almost on the brink of tears, Beharry recalled the bandit telling him to jump into the sea. Bissoon began begging the men for mercy.
They did not want to hear. They said jump overboard or they will shoot.
Deodath, who attends Cedros Composite School, said he did as they were told.
We couldnt say anything more, because he had the gun. I cant swim too good, but I just kept praying that God will protect us, Deodath said.
The bandits threw a gas pan and a life jacket into the water for the trio to hold on to before speeding off with the stolen boat.
Bissoon got hold of the jacket, but as Deodath got into difficulties he handed it over.
We would have died if he didnt give us the jacket, Deodath said. Beharry said he and Deodath tried to swim to shore, using the jacket. Rupert began bawling for help, but before we could reach he went down, Beharry said.
It was some seven hours later that Icacos fisherman Premchand Harricharan found the men close to the Venezuelan mainland.
They were dehydrated and almost unconscious. Both were taken for medical treatment.
Yesterday, Bissoons wife Surujdai said she was still waiting for him to come home. I dont know if he is alive. I cant believe that he is dead, she said, weeping.
She said her husband had been fishing for more than 15 years, but could not swim. (See page 18)