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Feb 26, 2016

Coast Guard Rescues Four Fishermen Adrift at Sea

A group of four fishermen, returning from camp near Colson Caye this morning, is lucky to have returned to safe harbor earlier today after drifting outside of the barrier reef.  The men were heading home ahead of this weekend’s cold front when their vessel began experiencing mechanical difficulties.  Despite signaling for help from a passing boat, aid was not rendered.  Presumably, those onboard the passing vessel may have thought that the men were pirates.  Nonetheless, the police were contacted by radio and they in turn relayed that distressed call to the coast guard.  A quick response team comprised of Petty Officers Daniel Sabido, Arthur Garbutt, Trevor Vasquez and Seaman Osman Alcoser responded to the call.  The drifting fishermen were found a short time thereafter and brought to safety.  Lieutenant Greg Soberanis, Operations Manager at the Belize National Coast Guard, gave us more details.


Lt. Greg Soberanis, Operations Manager, BNCG

Lt. Greg Soberanis

“This morning, we received a call from the police that a vessel was in distress in the area of Colson Caye.  We deployed our quick reaction team to the area to conduct a search to locate the vessel that was drifting out at sea.  Upon arrival at that location, we conducted a search until eventually we did find the vessel that was in distress.  They were very elated to see the coast guard.  The gentleman informed us that they had left Colson Caye at 5:30 this morning heading to Belize City where they experienced some mechanical failure with their engine and began to drift out to sea.  Initially they tried to drop anchor but because of the depth of the water they were unable to do so.  So they tried to use a pole which failed as well.  A vessel was sighted and they cried for help.  Initially the vessel did not respond to their call but it was that same vessel that made the call to police who eventually called the coast guard and we were then able to effect the rescue this morning.”


Isani Cayetano

“Are these individuals on the boat fishermen?  Are they a family?  Can you give us a description of who they are?”


Greg Soberanis

“They were fishermen, four fishermen.  They have a camp in that area and they were coming in, you know it’s a cold front coming in, so they were coming back to mainland for the weekend when they experienced the mechanical failure.”


Isani Cayetano

“Geographically speaking, how far away is Colson Caye from Belize City?”


Greg Soberanis

“At the point where we met them they were approximately fifteen to twenty miles away from Belize City and as you know, the weather right now out there it’s pretty rough and choppy and like, as I mentioned earlier, at the sight or at the arrival of the coast guard, they were extremely elated and happy to know that they were being rescued.  As I said, they were drifting out to sea; in fact, they were beyond the reef.  So they were drifting into the blues.”


A family of ten was also rescued earlier this week by coast guard personnel off the coast of Belize City.  The group which included four adults and six children were found adrift near Stake Bank Caye on Sunday afternoon.


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