EDITORIAL

Inaction no longer an option at Conimicut

Posted 6/23/21

It is always unfortunate how it takes the occurrence of a tragedy in order to enact changes that may hopefully prevent further tragedies from taking place. It is far more disappointing when our failure to learn from past inaction results in even more

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EDITORIAL

Inaction no longer an option at Conimicut

Posted

It is always unfortunate how it takes the occurrence of a tragedy in order to enact changes that may hopefully prevent further tragedies from taking place. It is far more disappointing when our failure to learn from past inaction results in even more potentially avoidable loss of life. Such has become the case at Conimicut Point.

It has become glaringly apparent that the sandbar off Conimicut is a dangerous spot for those unaware of the presence of strong currents that flow on either side of it once the tide picks up. It has killed multiple people throughout the past decades and nearly claimed the lives of many more – most of which don’t even go reported.

Following this past Sunday, we are left once again to wonder what could have been done differently to prevent the devastating drowning of Yosekarly Martinez, a 10-year-old Providence girl, and Valentin Cardona Sanchez, the 35-year-old Central Falls man, who perished heroically trying to save her once she was swept away by the strong current.

The beauty of our natural resources is what makes Rhode Island such a special place to live and raise a family. Though we may often take it for granted, very few people across the country and the world have such easy and extensive access to the shoreline as we do here. Particularly at Conimicut Point, where the normally shallow waters recede even farther at low tide to expose a sandbar that practically beckons curious beachgoers to venture out onto its expanse.

But it is that deceptive beauty which belies the true dangers and power of the ocean. People have a great deal of respectful fear when it comes to open water and exceedingly rare encounters with the kinds of wildlife that inhabit the depths – but it is apparent that more effort must be made to educate people about the much more real and present dangers they face when surrounded by water with their feet on solid ground; like how currents work and just how powerful water can become when it is moving even slightly fast.

This is not to imply in any way that the victims lost this past Sunday are responsible for their terrible plights, but rather to point out that we, as a community, have ignored this known problem at Conimicut for too long already – and this most recent incident only serves to drive home the severe consequences of that continuing inaction.  

As far back as 2013, The Beacon has called for more measures to educate people about the dangers of the sandbar and implement means to discourage individuals – especially those wholly unaware of the hidden danger that surrounds it – from venturing out onto the sandbar. Erecting more, larger signage in both English and Spanish is, at this point, merely a necessary starting point. Serious conversations should also be had regarding the installation of tide-triggered alarm that would provide a more explicit and crystalline warning about the danger.

Another measure, supported by the Conimicut Village Association, would be to construct a memorial of sorts near the access point of the sandbar – both to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the area, and serve as another cautionary warning to those who may not have totally thought through the potential risks they would be taking by venturing onto the sandbar.

One or two accidents resulting in death can be chalked up to statistical probability, but the drownings at Conimicut Point have clearly gone beyond mere random chance. We owe it to those who have perished – and the loved ones they have left behind – to safeguard against future tragedies in this area.

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