Tonight, reports are that Yesterday two park rangers went missing while doing a routine check on the Caracol Archaeological site near the Guatemalan border.
The Chacon and Hebert families are extremely concerned especially because of the tension between Belize and Guatemala at the border.
We spoke to the uncle of Ranger Elroy Alvarado who is fearing the worst for his relative especially because he is an experienced bushman.
Andrew Chacon - Uncle of Elroy Alvarado "After I talked to the person from NICH this evening, he told me that they realized about 4 o clock yesterday in the evening that was when they actually realized that he and another park ranger went missing and they said that they sent out a search team, that is the BDF that is on site and they have not gotten any nothing came out fruitful from the search team that they sent out from since yesterday until now. That is what actually have the whole entire family worried at this moment. We know that the proximity between the Guatemalan border and the Belize border and we know the things are not too right with us and the Guatemala align that Border area as well. The whole entire family is worried at this time."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter "Ok are you guys just finding out today?"
Andrew Chacon - Uncle of Elroy Alvarado "NICH actually - they should have informed us from yesterday afternoon when they realize that he went missing at the least the family should have been informed not wait until this evening to inform the family about it."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter "You guys are far from the Caracol site?"
Andrew Chacon - Uncle of Elroy Alvarado "Yes, far it's impossible for us to even reach to over that area at this time. We live in Rockstone [Pond] and Caracol is way off along the Guatemalan border in Cayo. It's impossible for us to do anything or reach over that side at this time."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter "Okay so just a general alarmed feeling at this point."
Andrew Chacon - Uncle of Elroy Alvarado "Yes, we believe that NICH and the authorities should have done more on their behalf to inform the family and let us know exactly what is going on from the moment he went missing because we know the danger and threats along that area. That is not a safe area for anyone to be. Anybody know about it. They should have never hide anything from the family whatsoever."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter "What is the family's plan? Are you guys going up tomorrow to start searching or...?"
Andrew Chacon - Uncle of Elroy Alvarado "Actually, the first, as we speak, we are mobilizing to go to meet with the mother because the mother cannot take it at the moment. The mother cannot even speak, the whole entire family is going to meet with her and we will decide from here what we will do and see if we can get extra assistance from the police and the BDF and probably head over that side tomorrow early in the morning."
Sahar Vasquez, reporter "Obviously, because of the tension between Belize and Guatemala by the border I can image you are fearing only the worst."
Andrew Chacon - Uncle of Elroy Alvarado "Exactly that is what everyone is worried about because everyone from here, our family in the village know who is Elroy, no bush can hold him down, no nothing cannot stop from surviving in the wild or can keep him away from getting to safety, because we know who he is. He is a rebel when it comes to the bushes and anything like that. If he goes missing, that bush cannot keep him away from coming back out safely."
If you know anything or would like to assist the family you can contact Chacon at 610-9795.
Tonight, two NICH Rangers are back in the company of their families after being missing in the Chiquibul Forest for two days. These are the pictures of Luis Ramirez - seen sitting in the truck - and Elroy Villanueva - standing in the pan at the junction of the Caracol and San Antonio roads. This is their first encounter with family. As you can see, they are unharmed and in good health, and were only dehydrated. They were found 2.5 kilometers Northwest of Caracol and 4 kilometers East of the Guatemalan border.
Ramirez is the Caracol Park Manager, while Villanueva is a Park Ranger at the site. They have been taken to the San Ignacio Hospital - where these images were captured a short while ago - and it shows them walking out of the emergency room - looking fine.
Here's the firsthand account from Luis Ramirez and Elroy Villanueva conducted just a short while ago in San Ignacio:
Luis Ramirez "We just went to the bush for something and we just lost track because it was already late and it was raining. Thanks to the BDF and the police who were active in finding us today."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So, you guys kind of got lost?"
Luis Ramirez "Yes."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "Okay, so you survived off of the land."
Luis Ramirez "I survived, well the first day was very tough because it was raining, the second day, it was very cold, we just managed to..."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "I know you are diabetic, was that difficult?"
Luis Ramirez "Well, actually not really because the doctor just say that I am okay. Everything is okay with me."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "Okay, did your experience in the bush help you to kind of get through?"
Luis Ramirez "Yes, because I didn't panic."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "You guys tried to remain calm."
Luis Ramirez "Yes, we just try to remain calm and thanks to God."
Elroy Villanueva "We just got lost in the jungle, we missed the direction where we were coming from. Then rain was coming so we tried to come out and that's how we got lost in the jungle."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So, you both just have to live off of the land for 2 days?"
Elroy Villanueva "From Monday to today. We had to do a little bit of exercising, building thatch and using your brain."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So, you guys had to sleep under a thatch."
Elroy Villanueva "Yes, what we build. But the first the thatch didn't work the rain came straight through it."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So, you guys didn't sleep the first night?"
Elroy Villanueva "We didn't sleep. The 2nd night we slept but we still had to worry about animals or Guatemalans who could come into the area."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So how was it, the experience, were you scared that maybe..."
Elroy Villanueva "It was a terrible experience."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "There was a lot of fear that you would never be found?"
Elroy Villanueva "Yes, I thank God that he was by my side and he never let me down."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So, you guys had just gone in for a routine just getting some..."
Elroy Villanueva "Some pacaya to eat and to different things."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "So, this is the first time you have ever been lost and the last time."
Elroy Villanueva "The first time and the last time."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "Okay but the experience was miserable."
Elroy Villanueva "Very miserable. I just want to say thanks to the BDF who helped in finding us and the different people who were looking for us."
Sahar Vasquez, Reporter "Okay, excellent, so you guys ate off the land as well, you drank river water?"
Elroy Villanueva "No, we didn't eat anything up this minute right here, until just know they gave us something to eat."
Again, that's just a few minutes ago at the San Ignacio Hospital - where, as you can see the men look just fine if a little tired and worn out.
Their boss John Morris told us that they just got lost:
Dr. John Morris - Director, Institute of Archeology "When the guys went missing on Monday evening they had gone out to find some Pacaya which is like a celery and they usually use that for meals in the evening. It began raining and they took a wrong trail and so if you know the jungles in the forest, you take a wrong trail you end up..."
"So, it was raining really hard and they ended up half way to Guatemala and had to spend the night out in the bush there. We were informed about it and we immediately coordinated with the BDF and the police special unit because those are the people who are the experts in rescue missions. We have a contingent with the BDF at Caracol, so they initiated the first search with our rangers but we couldn't locate the guys. So, 3 patrols were done yesterday and we still could not locate the guys and this morning we had another coordinated patrol, this time only the BDF and the special unit from Valentin Camp and 2 units from Caracol camp."
Family member "First of all, I want to give God thanks and everyone know God is still answering our prayer because it's the first time I find myself praying so much and he answered my prayer and I also want to give thanks to each and every one that supported me and pray for my family. That's all I have to say, I'm so happy that he is alive and well."
So, the families are very grateful for their safety and presence tonight - as is an entire nation because an area so close to the Guatemalan border is no place to get lost.
As you heard Morris say the pair set out on an existing trail near Caracol on Monday evening and did not return. Both are experienced bush-men and know the area well - but their families feared the worst because Caracol is only 3 miles from the Guatemalan border - where cross border bandits roam free.
Fears deepened today as search teams from the BDF the Belize Police Department and Forestry Department fanned out into the Chiquibul - concentrating their numbers in and around Caracol - the pair's last known location.
Today - before they were found - the Commander of Camp Belizario in Cayo, Col. Anthony Velasquez told us about the number of soldiers deployed to the forest:
Lt. Col. Anthony Velasquez, CO - Belizario Camp "This morning early we deployed additional resources; additional men to canvassed the area. We also have a senior captain out there who is coordinating the search. We have approximately 24 soldiers in the immediate area and we have about 30 soldiers in the cordon around the area. So approximately close to 60 soldiers. There are also policemen and forestry personnel there assisting in the search."
Jules Vasquez, reporter "What are the dangers of that area in the Caracol vicinity?"
Lt. Col. Anthony Velasquez "Well the first danger is very easy to get lost. There are thick forest and think jungle and it's easy to get disoriented. So it's possible that these gentlemen got disoriented and are lost and are somewhere in the area right now where we are searching. I am optimistic that we will find out some information about them."
And, as you saw at the top of the story he was right! Minutes after that interview - they were found.
Our team is still with them in Cayo - and we'll have the full story for you in tomorrow's newscast.