Tonight, there are grave concerns for the health of Corozal resident Lionel Velazquez after he went missing at sea on Wednesday.
For the past 2 days, the Coast Guard has been out on the sea looking for the 28 year old Paraiso villager who went over board on Wednesday evening while on the way to his job at the Turneffe Island Resort.
The management of the resort have confirmed via a press release that on Wednesday afternoon, their vessel, Eagle Ray, departed the dock at the Radisson Hotel with a captain and 7 employees, Velasquez included. At around 7 that night, when the Eagle Ray was passing through the shipping channel into open waters, Velasquez fell overboard. Fellow passengers witnessed the accident, and alerted the captain immediately. They circled back for him, and searched the surrounding waters.
At the same time, a "man overboard" distress signal was sent to the Turneffe Island Resort, which quickly got in touch with the Belize Coast Guard. The swift response included the Coast guard, and 2 other Turneffe Island Resort Vessels which spent hours searching the area of the channel where Velasquez fell overboard. They've spent all of Thursday, and most of Friday's daylight hours looking for him, but they've been unable to find him.
And while the resort's employees and the coast guard have been on an intensive search, his family is worried sick.
Yesterday, our colleagues from CTV 3 News spoke with his dad, Hilberto Velasquez, and here's what he had to say:
Voice of: Hilberto Velasquez - Father of Lionel Vasquez
"At this moment, I don't know anything about the case of my son. And that is what I would want to know. What happened? Until now, we don't know anything about him. It's sad to not know where your son is. All I want is justice and to know where he ended up."
The press release from the management of the Turneffe Island RESORT says that they are, quote, "committed to do anything and everything possible to recover Lionel".
Corozal Man Fell Out of Boat, Now Missing
A thirty-year-old mechanic from Paraiso Village in the Corozal District is missing at sea since Wednesday and his family fears the worst. This afternoon, Anna Leticia Revolorio came to News Five studios on Coney Drive asking for assistance from boaters and pilots to help in the search of her husband, Lionel Velasquez. The Turneffe Island Resort confirmed that just after seven p.m. on Wednesday, Velasquez fell overboard the Eagle Ray watercraft past the shipping channel into open waters; on board were six other employees and the captain en route to the resort. Revolorio says her husband left home around five that morning.
Anna Leticia Revolorio, Wife of Missing Man [Translated]
“On Wednesday around nine a.m., he left from home to go to work. He works at Turneffe Island Resort. What I know is that at seven-thirty in the night, he feel overboard and up to now he cannot be found. What I am asking is that any boat, boaters, fishers, Tropic Air, Maya Island Air, please look while you are traveling to look below to see if you find him. We only want to find him. That’s all we are asking to everyone please.”
“What is the boat captain saying happened?”
Anna Leticia Revolorio
“That he was on the edge of the boat and he slipped and fell. He didn’t say anything else. That’s all I know; that he was on the edge and he fell. That’s all that we know.”
Search Continues with Eagle Eyes of Coast Guard