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Belize Coast Guard rescues 31 persons

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Over the long holiday weekend, the Belize Coast Guard was called out to respond to a couple distress calls. Love News spoke with Captain Elton Bennett, Vice Commandant at the Belize Coast Guard about the incidents that occurred at sea.

Captain Elton Bennett, Vice Commander, Belize Coast Guard

“We had two search and rescue cases, two of which involved quite a large number persons, the first one with 18 persons on board and the second one with 13 on board. First looking at the first case which occurred on the 25th December 2017 where a vessel by the name of Belize Conservation One departed Placencia headed about 16 miles southeast of Placencia towards an island by the name of Tom Owens Caye. The vessel didn’t reach Tom Owens Caye, it suffered engine failure somewhere five miles north of that location. The captain of the vessel radioed into the Belize Coast Guard and we dispatched a search and rescue unit from Hunting Caye. The search unit went North of Tom Owens Caye and commenced the search however the initial search revealed that we couldn’t locate the vessel at that time. We extended the search and about 3 PM Christmas afternoon we located the vessel somewhere west of Tom Owen’s Caye just about three miles west of the caye. The persons on board were okay, they had suffered minor seasickness due to drifting at sea for about three hours. Those persons were taken to Tom Owen’s Caye where the engine was remedied and the Coast Guard conducted further operations from that location.”

On December 26, the Coast Guard was informed by the police that another vessel was in distress, this time in the area of Moho Caye.

 

Captain Elton Bennett, Vice Commander, Belize Coast Guard

“A vessel departed Caye Caulker by the name of El Nino with 13 persons on board. On board that vessel was three toddlers below the age of two and one seven years old and an eight-year-old. The engine failed and the vessel started to drift in a southwesterly direction. The Coast Guard deployed its search unit from the headquarters. Within 40 minutes we were able to locate and rescue that vessel and take them into Belize City.”

Reporter

“At what time?”

Captain Elton Bennett, Vice Commander, Belize Coast Guard

“We arrived on the scene at 7, the information we received was that 6:20 departing from here to that location; we think it was a very efficient case.”

Bennett had some advice for individuals heading out to sea.  He stressed the importance of the captain of the vessel testing their engine before going out, having safety gears onboard and having good communications onboard in order to reach the Belize Coast Guard in the case there is a problem.    The Belize Coast Guard can be reached at 222-5260 or 222-5262 or on channel 16 on marine band radio.

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