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#496782 - 10/14/14 10:09 AM Kayaking Incident
SimonB Offline
Breaking News: A kayak capsized at sea sometime throughout the day on Monday October 13th. The small vessel is reported to have had three passengers, two have been rescued,the is other still missing at sea. Search and Rescue efforts are currently underway. The San Pedro Sun will have updates as more information becomes available.

#496784 - 10/14/14 12:21 PM Re: Kayaking Incident [Re: SimonB]
SimonB Offline

#496802 - 10/15/14 05:48 AM Re: Kayaking Incident [Re: SimonB]
Marty Online   happy

Coast Guard Rescues Two at Sea, 1 Dead

Two island residents were rescued yesterday afternoon, Monday, October 13, 2014, by the Belize Coast Guard after their recreational canoeing afternoon turned into a horrific experience that has lead to the disappearance of one of their good friends.

The Belize Coast Guard informs that they received a call from the San Pedro Police Department at about 1 p.m. yesterday about a capsized canoe with men that were onboard in distress. The Coast Guard immediately dispatched a vessel in the Tres Cocos area, north of the bridge, in the general vicinity of Reef Village. According to them, one of the men had a cellular phone with him and was able to call for help before three of them were dragged out in to the open sea by the strong currents.

It was until 45 minutes later that the Coast Guard came upon a local vessel in which one of the men had already been rescued. He pointed them into the general direction in which his two other friends had been dragged out at sea, outside of the reef. Fifteen minutes later, the Coast Guard found a second man hanging from a buoy about 500 meters from the channel in open waters.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today

Coast Guard Rescues 3; Looks For 1

Tonight, we showed you the comments from the Commandant of the Coast Guard as he explained that thorny Hunting Caye Issue.

But, apart from being under scrutiny, Coast Guard has also been making commendable efforts. Those included two well-executed rescues this weekend.

Fleet Commander for the Belize Coast Guard, Lt. Soberanis discussed the details of these operations.

Lt. Soberanis, Fleet Commander, Belize Coast Guard
"The search and rescue case was one with a gentleman Kareem Roland, he was kayaking in the lagoon just whisk of San Pedro Town. He reported to the authorities that he was in distress. We were able to make contact with Mr. Roland via phone who stated that due to the wind and weather conditions at the time, he was unable to make it back to the island. Our station in San Pedro patrol a vessel with a search unit who coordinated with a local fisherman who was in that area at the time and Mr. Roland was found and transported back to the island. We are currently on a case where there were 3 individuals who were canoeing in the area of Grand Caribe. Their canoe capsized and all 3 individuals began to drift. One of the individuals Mr. Martinez was found by a local who was passing by at the time. He was placed aboard and was taken to safety on the island. The other two individuals, we were informed that they drifted through the main channel just east of Boca Del Rio. One of these individuals was found by the Coast Guard approximately 2pm yesterday afternoon. He was holding on to one of the buoys that was approximately 400 yards from the main channel. The other individual is still unaccounted for at this particular time. We are supporting the police in the Not in My City operations which is a law enforcement function for the Coast Guard. We are conducting operations in the harbor and inland water ways to ensure that mariners are in compliance with the boating safety regulations."

The Coast Guard have been conducting security checks in the areas of Belize City, San Pedro and Caye Caulker to ensure that there is no illegal activity along these areas. This is part of the Not In My City Operation, conducted by the Police Department's Eastern Division.

Channel 7

Fishing expedition off Ambergris Caye turns tragic; 1 man still missing

On Tuesday October 14th, five vessels along with about 30 volunteers joined the Belize Coast Guard and have been diving in the area where the canoe capsized. Divers have recovered a white shirt, dive mask and snorkeling gear believed to be that of Garcia. They also recovered a paddle from below the reef outside the Tres Cocos Channel.

According to Ayala, the weather conditions are not ideal, thus making the search operation more challenging. Search has been concentrated along and outside the reef from the Tres Cocos Area southwards to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. A total of five nautical miles along the reef has been searched and three nautical miles outside of the reef but search efforts have not been positive. “We don’t want to speculate at this time what may have happened to Garcia, but we remain focused and concentrated in our search and rescue efforts,” said Ayala.

But while the Belize Coast Guard refused to speculate and is still treating Garcia as a missing person at sea, his uncle Horace Lawrence says that the family expectations are diminishing. “I know that one of my nephew’s friends saw him fighting to get to the buoy but he was already too tired… He was asking for help and his friend was telling him to swim on his back… unfortunately his friend was afraid that Eric would pull him underwater. This is the first time I knew that he would be doing something like that… he is not a good swimmer. I know that out there he would not be able to handle those big waves,” explained a devastated Williams. At this time, the family of Garcia believes that he has drowned.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

#496808 - 10/15/14 06:08 AM Re: Kayaking Incident [Re: SimonB]
Marty Online   happy

Tragedy at Sea: Kayak Capsizes off the Coast of San Pedro

There was a dramatic rescue on the high seas by the Belize Coastguard of one of three persons who set out to fish on Monday. A second person was rescued by a fisherman near Tres Cocos in San Pedro. A third person, however, has not been located and it is presumed that he drowned. Earlier in the day, the trio went to sea to fish but their small boat soon capsized near the reef and strong currents caused them to drift.  Fortunately, both Jamal Martinez and Joseph Hernandez were rescued but tonight Eric Garcia has not been located and his family has set out on an independent search. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A day of snorkeling and spear fishing off the coast of San Pedro has resulted in tragedy for a trio of friends.  On Monday morning, the group set out to sea in a small canoe, paddling towards the nearby reef.  While twenty-one-year-old Eric Garcia remained inside the kayak, colleagues Jamal Martinez and Joseph Hernandez both plunged into the choppy waters.  Moments later, upon attempting to re-enter the vessel, it suddenly overturned.

Horace Lawrence, Uncle of Missing Person

Horace Lawrence

“They went fishing yesterday in the morning and about 11:30, on a kayak, they capsized.  I understand two of the guys they jumped out of the kayak to go, I think spear [fishing], and when they tried to get back into the kayak that’s when the kayak flipped with my nephew that was in there and then they started to drift because they were ina deep area.”

A distress call to local authorities on the island would later summon the Belize National Coast Guard to the vicinity.

David Ayala

David Ayala, Patrol Commander, San Pedro Coastguard

“Yesterday at approximately 1300 hours, we received a call from the San Pedro police indicating of a flipped canoe in the area of Tres Cocos, in front of Tres Cocos.  Immediately the search and rescue team departed our location, our San Pedro FOB and made our way to Tres Cocos.”

By that time however, strong currents in the open channel had set the men adrift in separate directions beyond the reef.  The high swells would prove rather difficult for coastguard personnel to quickly locate the missing trio.

David Ayala

“Upon reaching we commenced search efforts but unfortunately nothing was found in the immediate area that we were directed to, after which we started combing along the reef and, like forty-five minutes later we came in contact with a small vessel, a small skiff that was in the area and they gave us directions that one person had been recovered.”

That individual was twenty-five-year-old Jamal Martinez, seen here wearing the red cap.

Horace Lawrence

“There was a fisherman’s boat nearby and one of them that was by the reef, the one that was by the reef shouted.  Somehow the fisherman heard him and came and rescued him but he couldn’t go out through the channel to try to help rescue the other two and they called for the coastguard for about, they say it took about an hour and a half before they got there.”

Despite what some argue was delayed response, when the search and rescue team happened upon Hernandez he was found clinging desperately onto a buoy.

David Ayala

“He was grabbing a buoy outside the reef and we immediately recovered him and placed him onboard our vessel.  He gave us directions that another person was along with him but unfortunately he was unable to swim along with him to hold onto the buoy.  So, minutes later he was out of the scene.  There was nowhere that he was seen at the time.”

By all accounts, Garcia, known to most as Bird, was not a strong swimmer.  His uncle Horace Lawrence told News Five today that the twenty-one-year-old may have suffered fatigue and subsequently went under.

Horace Lawrence

“He was too tired to make it.  He wasn’t a good swimmer anyway and, you know, he was asking them for help and they tried to tell him, “Hold on, swim on your back.”  And they didn’t want to get too close to him they say because they were afraid that he was going to sink them down.”

Family and friends believe that he has since drowned in the ultramarine depths and are now leading independent search teams to recover his body.

Horace Lawrence

“We came out early this morning like from six o’clock, about six of us went on the boat and we started combing the reef and we have about three divers, you know, snorkelers in the water snorkeling in the coral while some of us on top of the boat were looking down into the water.”

The coastguard is also on active duty in the hunt for the missing youth.

David Ayala

“We have been searching along the reef and outside the reef but so far we have not been able to get no signs of the person that has been missing.”

While two of the three men were successfully rescued, regrettably none of them were wearing life vests or other floatation devices.

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

Channel 5

#496844 - 10/16/14 05:35 AM Re: Kayaking Incident [Re: SimonB]
Marty Online   happy

3 Days Later, No Sight of Eric ‘Bird’ Garcia

Eric Garcia

Friends and family of twenty-one-year-old Eric Garcia continued recovery efforts today off the coast of San Pedro in an attempt to retrieve his body from the Caribbean Sea.  Bird, as he is known to loved ones, was along with two other colleagues when they set out for a day of recreation on Monday morning.  While his friends Jamal Martinez and Joseph Hernandez were in the area of the nearby reef snorkeling and spear fishing, Garcia remained inside the kayak.  When the pair subsequently resurfaced and attempted to re-enter the vessel it suddenly capsized.  The strong currents of the channel sent the men in different directions beyond the reef.  Martinez and Hernandez were fortunate to have been rescued following a distress call to local authorities.  Garcia, on the other hand, remains lost at sea despite efforts by the Belize National Coast Guard to locate his body.  The party resumed the search this morning, scouring the entire area in front of Tres Cocos and elsewhere to no avail.  Up until news time there has been no sighting of the missing man.

Channel 5

#496916 - 10/17/14 06:48 AM Re: Kayaking Incident [Re: SimonB]
Marty Online   happy

Hope Dwindles in Finding missing man at sea

A man missing at sea since Monday October 13th is believed to have perished.

22 year old Erick Garcia of Boca Del Rio Area, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, went fishing along Joseph Hernandez and Jamal Martinez. The three men left Tides Beach Resort in a 15ft Fibre Glass canoe and headed north to Tres cocos area to fish.

They secured the canoe and spent about two hours there fishing and diving, however, upon trying to get back into the canoe it over turned. The sea condition got rough and the strong current took them over the reef through a channel where huge waves pushed them in different directions.

Eventually with the assistance of the Belize Coast Guard both Joseph Hernandez and Jamal Martinez were rescued, however, Erick Garcia was never located.

On Tuesday the Coast Guard gave the media an update saying that the search was still on.

However, four days later, there is still no sign of Mr Garcia. Erick Garcia’s father made an official police report on Wednesday, but hope of recovering the young man has been lost.



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