Jonathan Phillips, an Antiguan youth who was on vacation in Colombia with his aunt Carol Lewis remained missing up to late yesterday, while authorities fished Lewis’s body from one of the main rivers of Cocorná, eastern Antioquia.
Relatives and friends in Antigua spent the past several hours extending prayers and well wishes on social media, as they continue to hope that Phillips would be found alive. He’s the son of Shennett Phillips, a senior employee at the Air Traffic Control in Antigua.
Early yesterday, it was rumoured that Phillips’s body was found. But, many relatives and friends quickly took to social media to refute this.
Charlene Elias posted on Facebook, “Please keep my family in your prayers. Lost my first and second cousins Carol Lewis and Jonathan Phillips this weekend. They were swept away in a river while vacationing in Columbia. Jonathan’s body was not found so we are praying that God blesses us with his favor.”
Neil Butler also asked people to be cautious about what they post regarding the incident.
“For everyone sending prayers Thank You. JP’s official status by the authorities is still “Missing”please keep hope alive. Until official confirmation of anything please stop posting RIP. His family is still awaiting updates from the authorities. To the family of his Aunt our heartfelt condolences at this time,” he noted.
According to online reports on MiOriente.com, the search for the duo began on Saturday when they disappeared while bathing in the Melcocho River, in the rural area of the municipality of Cocorná.
It was reported that a group of 15 rescuers, including firefighters and officials of Risk Management, have been involved in the search.
Captain René Bolívar, coordinator of the Dapard Disaster Care Management Unit, reportedly explained to media there that Lewis and Phillips were part of a group of six bathers who swam in the river when a sudden surge swept them away; only four came out.
The news agency said that Bolivar also added that bad weather conditions has made the operation difficult and extended the alert so that bathers attend the prevention campaigns in the area and stay tuned to any change in river level.
The Dapard indicated that “at the request of the US Embassy, it has begun the search efforts with the Office of Risk Management and the Fire Department of Cocorná. Already the Red Cross and Civil Defense were warned, and are waiting for an order to lend their support.”
From all accounts on social media, Phillips, a Flight Operations Officer with LIAT, can swim, is a jovial, friendly and helpful individual.