Alphonso ‘Vivian’ Coombs is not a happy man.
The 26-year-old resident of Trench Town says he has been left with mixed emotions after playing an integral role in the rescue effort of a little boy from raging flood waters last Friday in the community – an event which has turned another resident, Tremayn Brown, into a celebrated hero.
The story has attracted national attention.
Reports are that Renaldo Reynolds, a student of Jones Town Primary, was playing with friends on his way home from school when he found himself being swept away by flood waters in the gully on Collie Smith Drive.
After seeing Renaldo in the gully desperately clutching and gasping for air in the muddy flood water, Brown took off his shoes, jumped into the gully, and held on to the little boy.
Coombs said he subsequently played an instrumental role in rescuing the pair – after Brown was found in the ferocious water clinging on to a tree root with one hand while firmly holding the child with the other – but expressed disappointment that he has not received any of the praise.
“Right now I am here with mixed emotions, I am the person who pulled Brown from the gully and held on to him for several minutes before help came,” Coombs said.
“But a one man alone ah get everything,” he told Loop News. “So me woulda love to know if I’m not somebody too. How comes no one is highlighting me?”
According to Coombs, he was making his way home from downtown Kingston when he saw a group of persons gathered close to the gully.
“They were screaming and shouting that a youth from the area got swept away in the gully and that was when I remembered that there was a section where the gully would meet the sea.
“This is an area that I know very well so I thought that if I went to the location I could reach to both Brown and Renaldo before the gully emptied into the sea,” said Coombs.
Coombs said he ran for close to quarter of a mile to the location that is behind May Pen Cemetery.
“I was there calling out the little boy’s name and hoping I was not too late,” he said.
He said that about two minutes into the search, he heard the boy screaming out.
Coombs said he looked around and saw a weary looking Brown clinging on to a tree branch that hung over the water.
“Brown looked exhausted and was about to let go from off the branch. The boy was on his back,” said Coombs.
With quick thinking, Coombs said, he found a spot where he could position himself and managed to grab onto Brown who was by now sinking under water.
Coombs said he held on to Brown and the child until further help came.
“I am not demanding a lot, I am a father of six; I am just saying we hearing of the help coming out to Brown and we are happy that another youth from the community was able to help another, but we just feel the assistance can be offered to other persons in the group who also played a role,” said Coombs.
Watch Coombs’ interview with Loop News in the video below.