Counsel to the Commission of Enquiry into the Paria Tragedy Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC. AZP News/Azlan Mohammed
‘I very much doubt that I would say those fellas died because I came out and told everybody they were living,’ – Christopher Boodram
By Sue-Ann Wayow
CHRISTOPHER BOODRAM, the only person to be rescued in the Paria tragedy, is denying that he ever told Paria Fuel Trading Company’s Terminal Operations Manager Collin Piper that his four colleagues were not alive by the time he was rescued.
In giving witness statements on Tuesday, during the second day of the Commission of Enquiry (CoE) into the tragedy at the International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain, Boodram contradicted the statement Piper provided to the CoE.
Boodram was asked by CoE chairman Jerome Lynch, KC, if he recalled being on a phone call with Piper, HSEQ lead Randolph Archibald and general manager Mushtaq Mohammed at 10 pm on February 25, the day the men were sucked into the pipeline.
Boodram responded, “I very much doubt that I would say those fellas died because I came out and told everybody they were living.”
Counsel to the CoE, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, then read an excerpt from Piper’s witness statement.
“I asked Boodram how he was doing. Mr Boodram responded, saying: ‘Mr Piper, I want to say upfront, I ain’t think them fellas make it’ or words to that effect. The phone was placed on speakerphone mode, and Mr Boodram’s words were audible to persons around. Mr Boodram then indicated that he crossed two welded seals on the way out of the pipeline. He said he then crossed Blacks (Rishi Nagassar), who was unresponsive.
“He indicated that four of them were making their way out of the pipeline, and they were helping Kazim Ali Jr, who had a broken leg and arm. He then said they came across an air pocket after which there was one person less. He then said they came across a second air pocket, after which they lost Kazim Jr. He further stated that Fyzie was with him until he reached the elbow and then Fyzie said he could not make it. Mr Boodram did not ask during that conversation whether anyone else was rescued from the pipeline.”
Throughout his day-long session with the CoE, Boodram, the first person to take the witness box, maintained, if enough efforts were made, his colleagues would have been alive today.
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