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Nov 23, 2018

Copper Bank Fishermen Missing at Sea, Massive Search Effort Underway

Shane Young

A massive search and rescue effort to locate a seagoing vessel carrying ten fishermen onboard is underway in the waters of the Turneffe Atoll.  It is reported that Nayadi set out to sea fourteen days ago from the village of Copper Bank in the Corozal District and neither the fishing boat nor its crew has been seen or heard from.  It is likely that the men may have faced severe weather conditions out at sea, as it has been raining heavily since Sunday of last week.  This morning, family members contacted the Belize Audubon Society seeking assistance in finding Captain Fonsiano Copo and his workers.  While the organization quickly put together a team of rangers to scour the area, they were joined by B.D.F. and coastguard elements.  The operation which also saw a BDF helicopter deployed into the area has been fruitless, but efforts are ongoing.  News Five spoke with Shane Young, Marine Protected Areas Manager with the Belize Audubon Society.

 

Shane Young, Marine Protected Areas Manager, BAS

“At this juncture we received a phone call, we at Belize Audubon Society received a phone call at about ten this morning from family members inquiring about the whereabouts of a fishing vessel Nayadi and ten fishermen onboard the vessel.  We understand the last location was Lighthouse Reef Atoll that the vessel was seen.  The Belize Audubon Society, along with the Belize Coast Guard deployed a search in the area of Lighthouse Reef Atoll.  It was a four to five hour search and it came back empty handed.  The vessel was not seen in that location.  Based on that information, the search continued in the Turneffe, with the Belize Coast Guard and our sister agent, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association.  They continue their search as we speak in that location.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Have you gotten any information as to perhaps who the captain of the vessel was and that sort of thing?”

 

Shane Young

“We do have that information; we understand that the captain is one Fonsiano Copo, along with his nine crew.  The name of the vessel is Nayadi.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Do you know where the vessel is from or where these individuals are from?”

 

Shane Young

“These individuals are from Copper Bank.  They reside in Copper Bank and fish at Turneffe and Lighthouse Reef.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“My understanding sir is that this may have taken course over the past fourteen days or so.  The obvious question is why did it take so long?  Perhaps it’s not a question for you to answer, but it’s an open question.  Why did it take so long for anyone to report their family members missing or this particular vessel unaccounted for?”

 

Shane Young

“I’m not so sure, but looking at the dynamics of the fishing, these guys would go out for more than ten days at a time, recognizing also that we had bad weather, we had rain for a couple days.  So that might have extended their trip beyond the regular ten days.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“When you look at the geographical area being covered in terms of this search, can you give us an idea of how wide the radius is?”

 

Shane Young

“Yeah, in terms of the distance between here to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll is about sixty miles.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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