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 1Tonight, 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.
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