Father lost son, 5, in storm surge

Adrian Farrington, a 38-year-old Abaco father, watched a powerful storm surge swallow his young son.

While sitting on a gurney in a room at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in Nassau yesterday, Farrington, a resident of Murphy Town, told The Nassau Guardian, “My leg was numb, but I was still trying to stay afloat with my son. After about an hour of treading water and bleeding, I noticed…some fins swimming along the houses.

“So, I grabbed my son and I put him on top the roof. The water was high on the roof.”

Farrington said his son, Adrian Farrington Jr., 5, kept crying.

“I keep telling him, ‘Don’t cry. Close your month. Don’t cry. Keep breathing. Don’t cry. Close your mouth,’” he said.

Farrington said the water was “so high I could’ve taken my elbow and I could’ve put it on the roof to get up on the roof”.

“But before I could sit on the roof to hold him, the gust from the hurricane dragged him across the roof back into the surge on the next side,” he said.

Farrington added, “I still could remember him reaching for me and calling me, ‘Daddy.’”

He said he pushed debris aside and rushed to get to the other side where his son had fallen.

However, Farrington said he could not see anything when he went underwater.

“I was like feeling to see if I could feel some kind of cloth, some kind of clothes, some kind of skin, flesh, tennis, something,” he said while fighting back tears.

“I ain’t find nothing. I come back up. I hold my breath and I gone back down again. All this time, people carried my wife to safety and they calling me, but I ain’t want to go because I didn’t want to leave my son.”

Asked if he believed his son would be rescued, the grieving father said, “If he [is] rescued, I praise the lord. But for the surge, what I saw when I lose him, anything could happen. You had sharks swimming in the water, anything could happen.”

Farrington said he tried to continue looking for his son, but he got tired of fighting the monstrous surges, so he retreated to higher ground.

He said he made it to a church, but Farrington was not prepared for what he would encounter next.

“The church ain’t had no doors and no windows, just the walls and the roof,” Farrington observed.

He said there were about 12 people in the church.

“The wall of the church was moving like when you put clothes on the line on a breezy day,” he said.

“So, after I noticed the wall was shaking so much I moved from a seated position to a standing position with the entrance of the door right there. When I feel the wall pushing me, all I [did was] hold on the wall…

“…Everybody else who was inside, they run to try to hold the wall and I watched the wall and the roof crush everybody inside the church.

“There’s a guy, I could see him. I tapped on him and I asked him if he was okay. I ain’t get no response.”

As he swam away from the rubble of the church, Farrington said, he saw a man trying to rescue his family from a house that was being flooded by the surge.

“There was this guy. I watched him watch his family die inside the house and…couldn’t save them because he had everything battened up,” he said in tears.

“The surge was halfway to the door and he couldn’t open the door and I’m watching him and he’s beating on the door. His children inside crying and he’s outside crying.

“After the surge came up and they couldn’t get out, he just stopped swimming. He ain’t even try climb up on the roof. He ain’t try do nothing. He just stopped swimming. He just gave up.”

Farrington said he “watched like 12 to 15” people die in less than hour.

He was forced to bear the horrific conditions of the storm alone overnight.

When asked about the following morning, he said, “I was crawling trying to get to the clinic when some people saw me and finished carry me to the clinic. [This] wasn’t police.

“These were local people who [were] looking, probably looking for their family members also. After they found me, they carried me into the hospital.”

Farrington was flown to Nassau on Monday and transported to PMH where he is being treated for lacerations on his hand and two fractured bones in his right leg.

Describing Murphy Town after Dorian, Farrington said, “I watched the surge push homes off the foundation.”

He added, “What the surge didn’t destroy, the winds destroyed.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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