Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Man Died In Front of Me

Three quarters into my Saturday morning jog, a crowd on the water front between the Harbour Plaza Hotel and Laguna Verde alerted me to a man floating in the harbour. They were debating whether he was drowning, or just holding his breath. Some were saying he could not possibly have held his breath for so long. Two other swimmers jumped into the water, another man threw a floating ring into the water for the rescuers, while a woman started to call the police on her mobile phone. The two rescuers in the water, and another two men on shore struggled to get the man onto the steps. Many people did their best to help.

But the man was completely limp. They then pulled him onto the promenade. By then he was foaming at the mouth and was obviously not breathing.

In a couple of minutes’ time, firemen, medics, and police arrived. The medics and firemen worked on the man, trying to resuscitate him. The police questioned the witnesses. There were at least 20 people around, but only a few volunteered any information. I told the police what I saw: that the man was floating in the harbour, that a woman called the police, and that some men pulled him out of the water. The police had gotten as much from the other witnesses. Since I did not know the man, I was not of much help to them.

Then the press arrived, flashing their cameras like crazy. When the man was wheeled away shortly afterwards, it did not look promising. The crowd dispersed, quiet resumed on the waterfront, and a man was swimming towards us from a distance when I turned to go. I don’t know whether he realized a man had drowned.

When I got back to the office, I sent my pictures to the police. In the afternoon, I found out on the Internet that the man did not survive.

The whole thing affected me tremendously. My eyes told me the obvious, but my mind refused to accept that a life had been snuffed out so easily. Everything about the body that were there a few minutes ago were still there, then what made the difference between life and death? I shuddered to think how it might affect those who knew and swan with him.

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