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Aug 14, 2023

Justin Daniels Rescued At Sea After 5 Hours Adrift

Justin Daniels

A San Pedro tour guide is tonight at home recovering from a harrowing experience at sea. Justin Daniels was stranded off the coast of Caye Caulker on Sunday night for almost six hours. The unfortunate event began with him entering the water when his vessel began experiencing mechanical issues en-route to San Pedro. It ended with him being found alive just before one a.m. What made the difference was the prompt response in which his community pooled together its resources and mobilized to launch a search party.  News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

This is the exact moment that tour guide Justin Daniels was rescued after being lost at sea for more than five hours. Daniels left Caye Caulker in a boat just after seven p.m. on Sunday night en-route to San Pedro. Along the way his vessel reportedly began experiencing mechanical failure. Daniels reportedly got in the water to assess the issue. In the process, his vessel drifted from the location where he disembarked, leaving him lost at sea. The Belize Coast Guard was called in.


Elton Bennett

Real Admiral Elton Bennett, Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“Sometime last night after seven p.m. we received a distress call from a vessel that was just north of Caye Caulker. The initial report was that there were four persons on the vessel and one was missing off the vessel. We deployed our search and rescue team from Station San Pedro. We arrived on the scene in due course and time. We were able to locate the vessel. We found persons on board and as the initial report stated there was one person missing.”


Word quickly got out about Daniels’ disappearance at sea. The news began spreading across social media. Many of his friends were contacted and informed of what had transpired. One of those individuals was Densmore Edward who we spoke with over the phone.


On the phone: Densmore Edward, Sales Representative, Mahogany Bay/Tuff E Nuff

“I reach out to my boss, Rico Black and I told him this is a situation right now, even though me and Justin are good friends, I would appreciate Tuff E Nuff and the crew get one of the boats, gas up and look cause it could be anybody. So, he said sure and keeps me posted. We went out there and searching from the post they post up, was a little bit off Caye Caulker. We looked at how the wind was blowing. There were so many different boats out there.”


After five hours of searching, tour guide Jaime Guerrero and his crew would eventually find Daniels alive and floating in deep waters.


Jaime Guerrero

Jaime Guerrero, Tour Guide, Captain G’s Tours

“We just put ourselves in his situation how he would be going back home, how the wind was like and looking at the different factors. So, we ended up behind the island of Caye Caulker. There is a shallow so we were looking around there. He had already passed on so he was in deeper water. When we went down wind that is when we heard him. That is what helped us out. He had seen the light but he was weak so he couldn’t really shout so he was saving his energy. When I heard that I said did you hear that.  And then, I got up and said did you hear that? Then when he shouted again everybody heard it and my sister started shouting for Justin and the Captain sped up a little bit and we found him.”


Real Admiral Elton Bennett

“Hyperthermia can kick in, Believe it or not, even in Belize sea spaces. You can suffer from Hyperthermia if you are in the water for extended periods. So, that is one of the challenges you have to overcome. Physical fatigue can become a major issue. You can be swimming towards a shallow and being going in the opposite direction because of the currents and drifts. So, a combination of factors, but the most important thing is to remain mentally strong. I think that is where a lot of people would give up. So, kudos to Mr. Justin Daniels for being strong.”


Justin Daniels

At least ten boats formed the search party. It is a story of survival and one of how a community banded together on a short notice and pooled their resources to assist one of their own at a time of desperate need.


On the phone: Densmore Edward

“Everyone know me and he is close, along with the other crew that found, we all hung out together, everyone had hope and he is a popular guy on the island so the island was left in shock knowing that Justin is out there and what transpired, a very good friend, everyone decided to jump up and went out there.”


Jaime Guerrero

“A lot of boats came out there. I can’t even count the amount of boats. It was well over ten boats.  They had Ramons Village, Tuff E Nuff, a lot of fishermen, people that know him since he is well known and that helped too, let us search in other different places because there were lights all over the place. That is what helped us. It is a very crazy experience but it ending.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

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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