GRACIE ROCK VILLAGE, Belize District, Tues. Apr. 21, 2015–A father of five lost his life in the process of saving his stepdaughter, who was drowning in the Old Belize River that runs behind Gracie Rock Village, located off Mile 22 on the George Price Highway, at around 4:30 p.m. this past Sunday, April 19.
Amandala understands that Jamel Erin Canto, 27, was swimming at the popular site with a group of teenagers when his stepdaughter, 20, began having difficulty in the water.
When Canto noticed what was happening, he went over and rescued her from the deep water, but after doing so, he paid the ultimate price.
According to eyewitnesses, the young woman – who reportedly did not know how to swim – was saved by Canto and placed in a dorey; however, Canto unfortunately went underwater during the process and did not resurface.
Village residents fished his body from the river moments later, and frantic efforts were made to resuscitate him on the banks of the river, but by that time, he had already died.
Canto’s common-law wife, Denise Flowers, told the media today that he knew how to swim, but that exhaustion may have played a role in his drowning.
She lamented the fact that Canto – who had been her spouse for 11 years – sacrificed his life to save her daughter, and mentioned that although he was familiar with the water, he did not normally go to the area to swim with that particular group of individuals.
Canto had been employed as a construction worker prior to his death and had recently returned from a trip to Corozal Town when the incident occurred.