A search and rescue operation, led by personnel from the Belize National Coast Guard on Sunday afternoon, ended with the successful return of a Belize City family of ten persons, including four adults and six children.  The party set out to sea earlier in the day and began experiencing mechanical difficulties.  The captain of the vessel had problems with steering and the boat began drifting.  The coastguard’s standby unit, including Petty Officer Anthony Sankey, Seaman Jessie Vellos and Seaman Grey, was immediately deployed into the area of Stake Bank and Swallow Caye.  There, they encountered the distressed vessel and towed it to safe harbor.  Lieutenant Greg Soberanis gave us more details on the rescue.

On the phone: Lt. Greg Soberanis, Operations Manager, BNCG

On the phone: Lt. Greg Soberanis

“Coast Guard received a distress call from a vessel that was adrift.  The information that we received was that they were heading to one of the islands when they experienced some steering failure.  They had some mechanical failure as it relates to the steering.  As a result they were unable to maintain control and maneuverability of the vessel.  We responded, we deployed our standby unit to the area between Stake Bank and Swallow Caye where the vessel was located with six children and four adults onboard.  They were all safe and in good condition where they were later towed to safe harbor at the Fort George pier.”

Isani Cayetano

“How long were they adrift at sea, do you know?”

Greg Soberanis

“Not for a long period of time.  At the time the individual called he said they had recently experienced mechanical failure, steering problems and as a result they began to drift slowly.  But it wasn’t a long time that they were adrift on the sea.”

Isani Cayetano

“Where was the standby unit deployed from, at the headquarters or were they in the area?”

Greg Soberanis

“The standby unit was deployed from the coast guard headquarters.  We have a unit that is ready to deploy on a ten-minute notice.  They are, they maintain a state of readiness to deploy, so when we got the call they were immediately deployed to the search area to locate the vessel that was in distress and to take them to safe harbor on mainland.  One of the good things about this case was that all the kids had on, everybody on board had on a life jacket which was very good because normally you’d find that these vessels go out with children onboard and they don’t have on any life jackets.  But in this particular case the kids were all equipped with life jackets so that’s a plus.  That

was a positive.”

Channel 5

Coast Guard Rescued A Boat Full Of People

Members of the Belize Coast Guard conducted a successful search and rescue operation over the weekend and brought to safety a group of 10 persons after their boat experienced mechanical problems. The distress call was made to the Coast Guard headquarters at about 1:45 on Sunday afternoon.

The report was that a family was heading to one of the Cayes for a day of recreation when upon reaching an area between swallow caye and stakebank, East of Belize City, the vessel experienced steering failure and began to drift. As a result the Coast Guard was called out to assist. In no time the team of three coast guard officers located the distress vessel and towed the boat along with its 10 passengers safely back to harbor.

Lieutenant Soberanis, The First Fleet Commander of the Belize Coast Guard told us that the three officers: Petty Officer Class 3 Anthony Sankey, Seaman Jessie Vellos and Seaman Grey are all going to be commended for their good work at pulling off a successful search and rescue operation.

Channel 7