BASSETERRE, St Kitts, Wednesday September 12, 2012 – Family and friends of Adolphus Stevens and eight-year-old Ni Quan Liburd have been plunged into mourning by a double tragedy that unfolded in strong currents in the waters off Keys Beach on Sunday.
According to reports, Stevens, who was in his late 70s, got into difficulty while trying to rescue his young nephew Ni Quan around 11:00 a.m. on what would otherwise have been a routine family outing.
Family members told WINN FM radio that Stevens, a Monkey Hill resident who originally hailed from the Keys area, took the younger members of his family to the beach every Sunday after he attended service at the nearby Keys Moravian Church.
On this occasion, however, a happy weekend ritual turned deadly as young Ni Quan was overpowered by a strong current that also claimed his uncle when his valiant rescue attempt proved to be in vain.
The radio station reported that a young female relative also got into difficulty when she tried to go to their aid, while some of the other children ran up the hillside to get help.
A neighbour of Stevens’ family who is a spear-fisherman rushed to assist and managed to rescue the girl who was treated in hospital.
Two Ross University students reportedly assisted in the recovery of Stevens’ body, while a Defence Force diver and a fisherman recovered Ni Quan’s body just off the coast of Keys Beach.
Among the Coast Guard personnel involved in the search, rescue and recovery operations was young Ni Quan’s mother. A member of the Coast Guard, she was on duty when the call came in and travelled with the first responders to the beach. She subsequently experienced chest pains and was rushed to hospital where she was treated and discharged.