A neighborhood landscaper fell into a canal and drowned Tuesday in Plantation, despite a resident's and officer's attempts to save him.
Family members said Roland Louima, 40, was working another day at his family landscaping business when the tragedy struck.
Jim Miller said he heard his neighbor screaming at around 11 a.m. and ran out to the canal along Southwest 125th Avenue.
"(The neighbor) said the landscaper fell in the canal," Miller said. "That’s when they saw him with his hands up in the air, and floating down to this end.“
Miller rushed over to his neighbor's yard and dove in.
"They were saying there’s bubbles or whatever, so yeah, I jumped in," he said. "I was hoping I was going to bump into something under there and I could go down and grab it, but I didn’t feel anything."
Kenny Philistin, Louima's nephew, said it was a usual day at work until his dad ran over to him and told him his uncle fell in the water.
“So I just sprinted down to the water. By that time, it looks like the EMTs and the fire had already came out there and the cops were there," Philistin said. "And, you know, they were already trying to go down because I guess apparently that water or that canal back there is about 20, 25 feet deep.”
A Plantation Police officer also jumped in to search. But the Louima's body wasn't recovered until a police diver went down 20 feet into the water.
To Miller’s surprise, the man under the surface was one of the guys who cuts his grass. He had just finished Miller's yard minutes earlier.
"It’s surreal, I was just talking with him like 30 minutes before," Miller said. Miller’s door camera caught the end of their conversation.
Witnesses said the man went into the water with the blower on him. The heavy piece of equipment made a rescue near impossible.
“They said that the backpack was still on him when they pulled him out. It’s pretty heavy and it’s full of water," Miller said. “I wish I could’ve done more.”
Louima worked seven days a week to support his family in Haiti, where his 13-year-old son and sisters live.
“Life's very short," Philistin said. "And, you know, just tell, you know, the people that you love, that you know, that you appreciate and that you love them and you know, so that they know that.”