Life for Richard Baron will never be the same. He was almost killed in a landslide, nearly lost his life and his entire family. His community, Petite Savanne, is devastated and he has lost his home, not to mention some of his friends.
Speaking from his hospital bed, an obviously emotional Baron recalled that it began to rain at about 2:00a.m. But, like many others, he was not prepared for what Tropical Storm Erika was going to do.
Baron said he was aware that there were a number of landslides and he heard a woman calling out to him at about 5:30a.m. It was an elderly woman and she was looking for shelter. At that time, he was trying to move some dirt that had fallen at the back of his house and was blocking the free flow of water. As such, his house had begun to flood and Baron had taken his son Chad Baron with him to clear the blockage.
Suddenly, Chad began screaming “Daddy! Daddy!”
Baron looked up and saw tons of earth coming towards him.
“The whole area was coming down so then I dived for cover. It take two of us,” he said.
Minutes might have elapsed. Or perhaps it was seconds. But Baron found himself sliding about 30 feet down and saw his son sliding ahead of him. He also knew that he had broken his leg.
As he slid, Baron impulsively grabbed a tree and steadied himself.
“I pull out myself and I run to rescue my son lower down, almost going into the ravine and I pulled him out,” he said.
Somehow, they managed to scramble their way back up to the top. It was important for him to get back up because he knew that his partner – Lauretta Francis — and daughter, Letricia Francis, were trapped in the house which was covered by the slide.
Baron found the door and frantically tried to force it open. But the door refused to budge.
Suddenly, two young men appeared. “I don’t know how they get there,” Baron said, describing them as angels sent by God. The young men were able to force the door open and get everyone out from the house.
But while they were breaking the door open, another landslide came, trapping them all between the earth and debris and the rising water in the ravine below.
Fleetingly, his mind went blank. Was this the end? How were they going to reach safety?
“Down we have to go!” the boys told him, indicating the ravine.
“I say we can’t make it down there,” he recalled.
Surprisingly, when it all seemed hopeless, the water level in the ravine began to drop and they were able to leave via that route.
The group began winding their way to a house which was being used as a shelter by about 20 persons. And as they picked their way through the bushes, they could hear the screams of others in desperate need of help.
At last they found shelter. And the following day, he was transported by helicopter and taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital. Baron said he had to enter the helicopter by rope as there was no place for it to land.
In addition to his broken leg, Baron also injured his back. Article courtesy http://dominicanewsonline.com/