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Nov 21, 2005

5 fishermen still missing at sea

Story PictureAnd while the wreckage of the Blancaneaux plane has been found, the same cannot be said for five fishermen who also went missing during the bad weather from Gamma late last week. Today Jacqueline Woods spoke with the sisters of one of the missing men.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting
Twenty-nine year old Alfredo Pott remains missing at sea along with four other fishermen. The men were all in a small vessel when it was hit by a large wave and sank somewhere between Mango Creek and Pumpkin Caye. The crew reportedly left Mango Creek for Pumpkin Caye around 5:30 on Thursday evening. Maria Angelica Carrillo says shortly before her brother departed he called home. That was the last time she heard from him.

Maria Carrillo, Sister of Missing Fisherman
?He just called me Thursday evening that he was moving from Mango Creek. He told me, he called me and told me, ?Babes you done get the money?? because he sends me money from Western Union. And then I told him no because Western Union is closed today. And he told me, ?Mar, I am going out to sea,? and ?I tell him, ?Babes take care, please take care.? And he told me, ?Yes take care and take care of the kids.? That was his last…his last speech to me on the phone.?

On Wednesday evening the National Meteorological Service had announced that on Thursday and Friday there would be a small craft warning and no one should venture out to sea. It is not sure if the men, who described themselves as experienced fishermen, realised the seriousness of the weather system that was developing just off the coast of Belize, but the eight-member crew decided to head out to sea. Pott?s sister eighteen year old Damaris Villamil says one of the three men who survived the incident told her the plan was to get a sailing boat that he was responsible for from Pumpkin Caye where they would have waited for the bad weather to pass and then the crew would have travelled to Belize City.

Damaris Villamil, Sister of Missing Fisherman
?He said that they left between 5:30 and 6 o?clock. They left to go to the skiff because they were hurrying so that the bad weather wouldn?t catch them because he told me too that he was worrying about the boat that he had out there. He?s responsible for the sailing boat and he said that they were trying to hurry to make it out there to the boat. There were three others on the boat waiting and he said that because of hurrying he has exposed the life of five of them.?

The Pott family say they do not know if their loved one is still alive, but their ordeal gets more difficult with each passing day.

Maria Carrillo
?The only thing I can say is if I noh see his body I know he is alive. But it?s too much days, Miss. Too much days that he is out there, too much days for me.?

Reporting for News Five, Jacqueline Woods.

Belize police have confirmed that over the weekend Honduran authorities reported nine bodies have been recovered on their shores but they can only account for six of the deceased. A Belizean law enforcement representative is scheduled to go to Honduras to see if the three dead bodies that have not been identified are those of Belizean nationals and are indeed the missing men.

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