0

Labour Day Tragedy: Pm Gives National Address (Video)

Monday’s lead story on the Labour Day tragedy appears HERE

UPDATE: Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has addressed the nation on Friday’s Labour Day tragedy:

Saturday 9.50am UPDATE: In the hours following the Labour Day tragedy, Princess Margaret Hospital officials said all patients with minor injuries were discharged and sent home safely.

However two women, injured when a truck plowed through march participants, remained in hospital following surgeries.

Officials said they both were in stable condition.

A third woman is scheduled for surgery today.

This is the latest development since four women killed and numerous others were injured during the incident.

photo

Kathleen Augusta Fernander

photo

Tabitha Charlene Haye

UPDATE: Police have identified today’s victims as: Dianne Elizabeth Ferguson, 55; Kathleen Augusta Fernander, 51; Tabitha Charlene Haye, 41, and Tami Patrice Gibson, 48.

Video

Chaos at the scene (strong language)

Video

An eye witness account of the crash

Words by RASHAD ROLLE and KHRISNA RUSSELL

Photos by TERREL W CAREY

THE Labour Day celebrations were plunged into tragedy when a truck mowed through a crowd of people Friday morning, killing four and injuring 24 in an unprecedented event for the Bahamas. 

All the dead were women, two of whom died on scene in the area of East Street and Shirley Street while the other two died in hospital. 

Of the injured, two have been admitted because of the seriousness of their injuries, according to Princess Margaret Hospital’s (PMH) Medical Chief of Staff Dr Caroline Burnett-Garraway. 

And while diagnostic studies were slated to be performed on the others, Dr Burnette-Garraway said at a press conference that the remaining injured are “walking wounded” and are expected to be treated and discharged without serious complications. 

Families and friends of the injured huddled around PMH throughout the day, anxious for news about their loved ones. 

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan confirmed the tragedy struck when control was lost of a black Ford F150 vehicle.

“The driver of that vehicle was accompanied by three persons on the back and another individual inside the vehicle,” he said. “It is understood that when he got out of it, it went forward colliding first with a child along the side of the street, then descending the hill, continuing north running into several persons who were participating in the Labour Day parade along the eastern side of East Street, coming to rest against a Nissan Micra and the building just at that intersection.” 

Mr Strachan stressed that the incident is not terrorism related. 

He said the driver of the truck is assisting police with their investigation but he was careful not to confirm or deny reports about how the driver’s actions prompted the series of events. 

photo

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes (centre) at Friday afternoon's press conference about the Labour Day crash.

He said: “We have experience and we manage from the police side of it any number of parades, floats, be it motorcades, bicycle events and otherwise. It is expected that the individual who is in charge of the vehicle stays in charge of that vehicle. A parade of that nature is normally stop and go at not more than five mph (for vehicles). Constantly on these parades you would find police officers asking persons who are on the vehicles to be properly seated within the vehicles. Yes there are large trucks on the parade where persons are standing but we don’t want to see persons hanging off the side of the vehicle.”

The incident sent shockwaves throughout the country but also showcased quick and effective work from health professionals who worked to prevent a rise in the death toll. 

PMH went into “mass casualty” mode, PMH Administrator Mary Walker said. Three people were treated at Doctor’s Hospital. 

The parade was cancelled following the incident, though this news did not immediately reach all participants. For more than an hour after the tragedy, boisterous crowds were still gathered on Bay Street, preparing for a Junkanoo rushout. 

Not far from them, health officials scrambled to inform families and the public about what happened. 

photo

Princess Margaret Hospital's Medical Chief of Staff Dr Caroline Burnett-Garraway speaks on Friday.

“Today is an extremely sad day for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,” Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said at the press conference. “Having endured such a tragic incident, the one thing I can say is from the time of the incident doctors, nurses responded even in their grief to care for the victims. The EMS staff, nursing staff, physicians at PMH made their country proud today and they provided care with a level of professionalism.” 

An emotional Labour Minister, Dion Foulkes, expressed “pain and condolences to the families” on behalf of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who is in Eleuthera, and his government. 

“This is a difficult thing,” Mr Foulkes said. He was participating in the parade near the British Colonial Hotel alongside labour leaders Obie Pindling and Bernard Evans when they learned what happened. “We cut off all the music along the parade and instructed them to play spiritual music which they did,” he recalled. “We cancelled the rally at the Fish Fry at Arawak Cay. The nation is in mourning. We feel the pain of every Bahamian. This is a tragedy, to my knowledge something like this has never happened before.” 

Video

The scene of the crash (Strong language)

'I will never forget this Labour Day'

An eyewitness who didn't want to be named described the horror of the scene: "As I was standing on East and Shirley Streets I heard a DJ shout out 'look out!'

"As I looked up the hill I saw something as if it was out of a movie: people being hit in the air and run over then I heard the most sickening sound - a piercing scream followed by a loud pop that I later found out was someone's head being pinned.

"I saw a mother pick up her kids and throw them to safety before losing her own life.

The eyewitness continued: "I will never forget the screams and bodies lying in the street and the nurses, who were moments before dancing and enjoying themselves, flying into action.

"I saw the driver run away in disbelief only to return a short time later; the junkanooers who, while waiting to participate in their own portion of the parade, put aside group politics and lifted a truck off of two ladies.

"Seeing the face of the truck driver and knowing that some of him died too. I will never forget this Labour Day."

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Rumours are running wild that the driver of the truck was repeatedly shouting out "Allahu Akbar". Hopefully this is not true, or our nation is in much bigger trouble than we have heretofore thought!

1

OldFort2012 11 months, 3 weeks ago

And you thought it opportune to repeat this unconfirmed rumour, because...?

Show some respect, FFS!!

4

Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Forget me....it was all over social media before my post!

1

Clamshell 11 months, 3 weeks ago

You believe everything you see on social media, moron?

1

Voltaire 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Nonsense. The witnesses said the driver was drunk and carrying on bad. He jumped out the truck to dance, forgot to put it in park and it rolled down the hill and hit the people. No foreign inspired threat, just regular local stupidness.

2

OldFort2012 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Yes, confirmed. He was shouting "Kalik Akbar".

0

tell_it_like_it_is 11 months, 3 weeks ago

It is very important not to spread Fake News! Social media should never be the main source of news. The veracity of stories should be confirmed before repeating.

Hopefully this will teach everyone to stop spreading the crap they see on social media. My prayers for the families of this great tragedy.

0

seamphony 11 months, 3 weeks ago

how??? someone please explain!!!

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 3 weeks ago

And apparently only one doctor on duty in the emergency rooms of both Doctors Hospital and PMH with many of our emergency medicine doctors abroad for the holiday weekend. Simply amazing!

0

bogart 11 months, 3 weeks ago

MAY THE GOOD LORD GRANT ALL THE COURAGE AND STRENGTH TO BEAR THIS GRIEF, AND TO ASSIST WITH HIS KIND MERCY RECOVERY TO ALL INJURED.

1

DDK 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Amen...... So very sorry.....

0

BONEFISH 11 months, 3 weeks ago

My prayers are for the victims and their families.May God have mercy on the souls of the deceased. I hope those injured have a speedy recovery

1

sheeprunner12 11 months, 3 weeks ago

That is why there should be a 200% tax on alcohol in this country ........ stupid people get more stupid when drunk ......... RIP to the victims

1

truetruebahamian 11 months, 3 weeks ago

There are drunk driving laws on the books, but no one is ever charged. I understand that this is because the insurance companies will not pay out in such an event. It is time to make them pay otherwise they are complicit in breaing these laws that are there for the public protection.

0

UserOne 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Being charged for drunk driving is a legal issue and has nothing to do with the insurance companies. Furthermore, if a drunk driver causes an accident and has insurance, the insurance is obliged to pay for injuries and car damage of the person he/she hits (Road Traffic Act). However, if the drunk driver has comprehensive insurance, the insurance company is not obliged to pay for the injuries and car damage of the drunk driver, which they would normally do if the driver was not drunk.

0

trlightb 11 months, 3 weeks ago

That thing did not 'come to rest'. It crashed and pinned a person between it and my over 90-year old's grandparents' car with both of them and a very close (may as well be family) friend that drives them around sometimes in it. My grandmother was sitting on that side that is mashed. After hearing how many were killed, I'm just thanking God they are alive right now. I mean my grandpa was in the British Legion in WWII. He almost didn't get to see his birthday next weekend. I can't believe I almost lost them today. For those that did lose loved ones today, I am so very sorry, and wish that you didn't have to go through what you are going through right now, and I hope that in time you can find peace again.

3

rawbahamian 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I am sure that insurance companies do not pay out for drunk driving incidents because the policy is set to cover unintentional accidents and getting drunk is an informed decision and choice made by the driver therefore they should be the only person made to pay for their stupid decision to drink and drive !!!

0

sheeprunner12 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Soooooo, what will be the legal consequences of this incident???? ....... Will ALL of the grieving families sue his stupid ass ....... and his friends who were in the vehicle??????? ......... Why could one of them not stop this vehicle???

I would love to see the police report on this situation.

1

Well_mudda_take_sic 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Truck likely has no current registration/tags.

Truck either has no insurance or is not insured when hired out or used for parade activities (that insurance policy fine print will get you every time).

Driver likely has no driver's licence.

Driver has no personal financial wealth; likely has no full-time job and possibly is addicted not only to cold Kalik beers but also the spinning of numbers.

Driver is likely a relative of either a politician, a lawyer, a member of the clergy or a high ranking police official.

With all of the above in mind, the victims and their families would be wasting their precious limited time and financial resources by hiring greedy lawyers in an effort to get any kind of meaningful legal redress. Truly sad commentary on our way of life in the Bahamas today. And it's going to get a whole lot worse as a result of the recent draconian increase in VAT aimed at sucking the life blood out of all middle and lower-middle class Bahamians.

1

ThisIsOurs 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Cuz it was rolling down a hill and the passengers are being thrown around in an out of control truck.

I wouldn't be surprised if the persons in the truck are among the more seriously injured. Where's the hand break in an f150 anyway? Is it in the center or is it near the steering wheel. If it's not in a center "console"(?) I don't see how the passenger would have been able to get to it in time, the truck didnt roll that far

Nothing anyone says can beat that man up more than the voices in his head. It's common practice to drink and drive in this country, the police are letting that and a hundred other infractions go unpunished everyday. Then when something happens they make a production of pointing out that it's "against the law". But you let people do it al the time, common law is you CAN drink and drive. How you think all those revellers got home after Carnival? Don't think it's necessary to beat the man up, he was careless but he didn't intend for people to get killed, he's in enough trouble.

1

UserOne 11 months, 3 weeks ago

"Common law is you can drink and drive" is an outrageous statement. If we continue to accept drinking and driving people will continue to be killed and maimed on our roads and families ruined. The next victim may be your loved one.

0

ThisIsOurs 11 months, 3 weeks ago

I didn't say I agree with it. And if you had read my comments you would have gleaned that.

By saying its "common law", I mean the police have BEEN ALLOWING it to happen. Now you have people advocating for marijuana use, it's not hard to figure out what else is being allowed to happen. It's only when tragedies like this happen that the police seniority remember that "it's against the law".

If there was a serious crackdown on drinking and driving people would think twice. I'm almost certain, this gentleman wasn't doing anything that he and thousands of others do every weekend and every holiday. He has responsibility but the law failed him I think by allowing him to operate for decades as if it were ok.

0

hrysippus 11 months, 3 weeks ago

Thisnotours, your comment "Nothing anyone says can beat that man up more than the voices in his head" may or may not be correct. In this country we have about 10,000 sociopaths who do not usually even know that they are sociopathic, most of them consider themselves just hard men or tough women if they engage in any self-reflection. If this stupid driver is sociopathic he will be beating himself up not from guilt but from the realization that he is going to prison and that some very angry relatives will never forgive him. If a magistrate gives him a slap on the wrist fine as has happened in the last two cases then if I was a grieving relative............I would be very upset. I am so sorry for this needless loss of life.

0

sheeprunner12 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I read your comment ........ Do police carry out breathalizers anyway???

0

John 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This probably the most tragedy filled holiday since the fateful Sea Hauler accident. This accident that claimed four, the one in Freeport and the shootings. Amazing that people would use the opportunity to bash Bahamians as they normally do calling them stupid, drunk, drug abusers and even terrorists. What it just an accident that was caused by none of the reasons stated? Eyewitnesses said they saw the driver run away in disbelief as he saw his truck rolling down the hill and plowing into people. Another said they saw ‘a part of the young man die as his truck rolled over the women.’ No one on the scene mentioned drugs or alcohol . Remember this a tragedy that also affects the young man and his family. Remember it is you that are demonstrating total ignorance and stupidity, a wild and twisted immigration even, when you suggest terrorism, among other things, when eyewitness and evidence at the scene does not bare that out.

1

bogart 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is a trajedy.....a most sad time in our nation....that in the celebration of the Workers of the nation all who toil in nation building that this trajedy should happen.

The Driver of the vehicle would be going through the worst ever pain and suffering....that for one brief moment ...and brief unintended...lapse in judgement..which everyone goes through sometime...a what if?....he too needs help....from the story it seems certain this was unintentional.....the driver needs our help.too.

1

sheeprunner12 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Easy to say ........ but 4 people are dead and others injured due to gross negligence ........ There comes a time when we have to stop making excuses for stupidity ......... Whether it is driver or truck, this must be prosecuted.

0

ThisIsOurs 11 months, 2 weeks ago

@bogart I agree 100%. I've made so many mistakes over the years in any number of areas and you can just put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine how in one second any one of those mistakes could have taken a turn for the worse. I empathisize with the gentleman, he is in trouble, I pray he's able to deal with the consequences of his actions, at the same time I sympathize with the families and friends who lost loved ones or have family members with serious injuries, possibly bread winners in the family.

1

bogart 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Not easy to say or comment....I know them...it is a national trajedy....everyone is hurting... Of course the law will take its course...and the facts will come out by competant authorities and be lablelled for what it is.

0

TalRussell 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Is this the same Comrade PM with certain beholding politicians in tow who keeps popping up to capitalize on every possible media event but abandons facing the media to answer tough questions? A PM and Imperial red cabinet who want the 91,409 voting red 10th May 2017 to feel they are NOT PAYING ENOUGH TAXES to the red Imperials.

1

ThisIsOurs 11 months, 2 weeks ago

100%. Suck teeth, he guh be campaigning straight through till 2022. This regatta that regatta and can't bring anything with substance, outdoor toilets by 2025 and no VAT on corn beef. If he wanted to console the families, go do it quietly, don't be like the Pharisees and Sadducees who have to make sure everyone see them praying. There's no need to try to get political mileage off of people's suffering.

0

TalRussell 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Ma Comrade, there is not hope or prayer good come from this new set elected Imperial red shirts.... Most Pharisees start off with good intentions. But wasn't no need 91,409 voting red 10th May 2017 to have wait this bunch reds morph into something not so good...... Oh wait, didn't they lie constituents all across Bahamaland make their ways up House of Assembly..... But noting in Constitution of this country does say the 91,409 are obligated support them remain up in House, full Five-years mandate, The PM, KP and Carl Wilshire, should spent that free airtime to have gone live on ZNS to explain OBAN, the Fake signature, and giveaway peoples 650 acres properties.

0

UserOne 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is not a time to be fighting about politics.

0

ThisIsOurs 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I've had a very close relative pass on in recent years and what I realized around that time is life goes on around you, people are partying, loving, laughing, crying, celebrating. There's a very good reason we all don't experience "personal" tragedy at the same time.

0

John 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Now there are reports of a boating accident off Long Island with one adult male confirmed dead and another missing at sea. Shooting in Fox Hill and Yellow Elder. That’s close to 50 Bahamians injured and around 10 losing their lives on a single holiday weekend.

0

Sign in to comment