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Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, May 18, 2024


When a couple of tourists were reported to be in trouble in the dark somewhere on the shoreline of Magens Bay, two local men wasted no time in going to their rescue.
Planning and Natural Resources deputy chief of enforcement Robert "Bobby" Danet got the call from police Friday night to help search for the couple, who had made a distress call to police from a cellular phone just before the phone went dead. From the information provided, Danet quickly surmised the couple must have walked down to the shore from near E&M Grocery.
"I figured it was the only place it could be," he said Monday. The man in trouble, Kent Jenkins, had said in his cell phone call that he had walked from the Mafolie Hotel to a "grocery store" and then down a dirt road to the shore from which they could see Magens Bay. Jenkins and his companion were reportedly trying to make their way along the shoreline to the Magens Bay beach when darkness set in.
Danet recommended that police initiate a foot patrol in the area. As Police Sgt. Rodney Querrard and his brother Shawn Querrard, a V.I. Housing Police officer, combed the area without luck, Danet telephoned his neighbor and friend David "Buffy" Lanclos, a lifeguard at Magens Bay. "I knew Buffy kept his boat at Magens," Danet said.
Lanclos said the call came "late, about 11 p.m. I was asleep." But he immediately volunteered to help. Overhearing his father’s end of the conversation, Danet's 16-year-old son, Shannon, said, "I'm going with him." Shannon and Lanclos, who are good friends and fishing companions, drove off from Frenchtown headed for the North Side bay.
Lanclos said he was driving fast and was stopped by a police officer. He said he explained that he was on his way to try to rescue some tourists, and the officer said she had heard the call and sent him on his way with only a warning.
Once out on the water in Lanclos' 20-foot Boston Whaler, named Raiyna after Lanclos' 3-year-old daughter, he and Shannon soon saw a flame on the shore near Lerkenlund. "I told Buffy, that's got to be them," Shannon recalled Monday. "As we got closer, we saw the flame waving back and forth, like they had a torch."
Lanclos tried to anchor his boat, but the wind, strong surge and reef along the shoreline made it impossible. Shannon decided he would swim to shore to get the couple off the rocks.
"That's pretty good for a 16-year-old," Lanclos said. "It was dark and windy and rocky, and he knew what to do."
When Shannon reached the shore, he first told Jenkins to extinguish the torch he had made with a found mop handle and a pair of socks. Next the teen-ager swam the couple's belongings to the boat. Then he plunged back into the dark water, swam to shore again and brought the couple safely to the Raiyna.
The woman "couldn't really swim," according to Lanclos and had to be pulled up into the boat. Jenkins climbed up the boat's swim ladder, Shannon said.
As the rescuers motored inside the swim buoys near the Magens beach, "We saw the first police car there," Lanclos said. "The police took our names and then left" with the couple, he said.
Both Shannon and Lanclos expressed surprise that a story in Saturday's Daily News never mentioned their rescue of the couple. It said the rescue was made "by the V.I. Police Department," stating midway through the story that the Querrard brothers formed "a makeshift rescue squad" with "a Department of Planning and Natural Resources enforcement officer, a member of St. Thomas Rescue and a Magens Bay lifeguard."
A release from Police Chief Jose Garcia issued late Sunday night did not identify the woman involved. Efforts to reach Garcia for further information were unsuccessful.

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