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What happened to my Charlie?

Antoinette Connell

What happened to my Charlie?

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Night-time cruising is becoming dangerous and should be banned, says a heartbroken Lolita Callender whose son disappeared more than three years ago from a pleasure vessel.
?The recent falling overboard of three men from the MC Buccaneer brought a flood of horrible memories back to Lolita who has spent three years in anguish over her son Simeon “Charlie” Callender’s presumed drowning after a night out on the same boat. Even though there was a memorial service for Charlie, Lolita still grieves and struggles to come to grips with not knowing the full details of the tragic last moments at sea of her son who was 26.
Lolita, joined by her sister Maureen Callender, is now on a quest to get the truth behind Charlie’s reported fall overboard on March 5, 2011 and to get authorities to hold an inquest and carry out a proper probe into the matter.
?Last week, three men fell into the water after a rope snapped on the MC Buccaneer during a daytime outing. One man’s friend immediately jumped in to rescue him while the others were picked up by a boat.
“I felt bad when I saw the story because I say if it was night his friends would probably not go because my Charlie was with friends and up to now none of them ever come to me, not even the captain of the boat and say anything, not even to say mum I offer you my sympathies,” Lolita said.
She told the WEEKEND NATION that not having a lifeguard, as was indicated in the article on Tuesday, is a cause for concern.
“Those fellows could thank the Lord because if it was night they all probably would have died. I don’t think their friend would have gone overboard… Those boys lucky that they were found… From the time I see this I say well no I got to get up and talk because I would like something to be done. I don’t want my son life to go so and no investigation… I want something done because he was with fellows and somebody had to see something, when he went overboard… Even if it was accidental somebody could come and say sorry we was playing around or dancing and he get bounce overboard and I did frighten to go overboard after him.. I would be vex but still I would accept it and forgive them,” Lolita said.
Instead she is left with a heavy heart each time she passes near the Wharf where the vessel is docked feeling abandoned by authorities and those are responsible for the vessel.
“I know if I was on board I would have to go with Charlie and that is from my heart… He couldn’t swim … I would have jumped behind him … I call him my baby, he was born with a hole in his heart… He was delicate… If it was day time he might have stood a chance,” a weeping Lolita said of Charlie who had a one-year-old child and was expecting another when he died.
Her grief sometimes give way to fear as she has other young relatives, including grands, who insist on frolicking at night on that vessel and others and, Lolita believes that if proper regulations are not in place patrons may be in trouble.
She got the news about her son from a niece and remembers thinking she was dreaming. The police came to her, gathered information on Charlie and she eventually went to a lawyer, but nothing came out of it.
“I want something done about these night-time cruises… You have to do something because with these night-time cruises it will happen again… it will happen again. It want banning forever. What happened to those fellows is a warning,” she said.