CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The quick reaction of two local men heroically saved the life of a wheelchair-bound cruise ship passenger who went overboard in St. Thomas.
The incident happened Saturday when a Carnival Cruise Lines ship docked in St. Thomas.
As passengers were coming back and forth from the dock and ship, a passenger in a wheelchair ended up going off the dock and into the water below.
Several crew members and workers rushed to the scene, tossing in a rope and life ring to help keep the woman afloat while people worked down to her.
Two St. Thomians who heard the commotion rushed over to the scene and quickly jumped in the water to help the woman. The men, Kashief Hamilton and Randolph Donovan, each work for the local Department of Tourism. Hamilton works as a D.J. on the dock while Donovan is a mocko jumbie (stilt dancer).
Once in the water, Hamilton and Donovan got to work getting the woman out of her wheelchair and tying the rope thrown down around her to help get her out. They also kept her afloat as the dock crew pulled her back towards the ship.
“I jumped straight in the water from the top level of the dock,” Donovan told local media. “I removed her from the wheelchair because I didn’t want the wheelchair to sink with her in it.”
The rescue crew was eventually able to pull all three back onto the dock safely and the efforts of everyone involved was caught on video and quickly posted online.
“Our most sincere thanks and appreciation to these individuals for their heroic efforts in assisting this guest,” a Carnival Cruise spokesperson said following the incident.
Hamilton and Donovan said the governor and a St. Croix senator applauded their rescue efforts.
“On behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands, I want to say thank you,” Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. said.
“In a Facebook post, Senator Kurt Vialet, also lauded the young men, saying:
“Everyday heroes with unassuming personalities live among us!”
Vialet also said he gave a tribute to their bravery on the Senate floor.And even walking down the street, Hamilton and Donovan said people recognize them and say they’re “local heroes.
“They say they will always remember the woman they saved.”I can’t stop thinking about her face, her expression,” Donovan said. “Her eyes were wide open, in shock. It’s something we’ve lived with every day since the incident.”
The woman who fell in also received a complimentary wheelchair from Carnival after her wheelchair couldn’t be recovered from the bay.
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