Belize Coast Guard rescues 7 after vessel capsizes at sea
Seven persons are lucky to be alive after they were rescued at sea by the Belize Coast Guard. The BCG’s Consejo Patrol Unit saved the group on Sunday morning after their vessel capsized 10 miles off the coast of Sarteneja Village, Corozal. A video of the heroic rescue was shared on social media, capturing portions of the operation. Reporter Vejea Alvarez has the story.
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: This was the moment the Belize Coast Guard sprang into action to rescue seven persons stranded at sea. On Sunday morning, the group’s vessel went down on their way to San Pedro and sent them scrambling to stay alive. Kimberly Maguire, the owner of the Crimson-Inn Resort, says she was with family and friends when the boat’s bottom began to separate and sink within the blink of an eye.
Kimberly Maguire, Owner, Crimson Inn Resort: “About forty five minutes after we left we started to take on water and it felt like the boat lost power. So when that happened we were sort of not understanding why that was happening but we realized the boat was gonna go down. So we hurried and got the life jackets out and gave it to the people that really needed them and we realized that the cooler would float well and everybody that we could gather to get onto the cooler and hold on and the captain and one other person stayed with the boat.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Maguire says she then tried to calm everyone down while she fought against the crashing wave to call for help.
Kimberly Maguire, Owner, Crimson Inn Resort: “Once I realized that the only way we were gonna get help was to make a phone call I had my phone in a dry bag but it didn’t even matter because the waves were coming over and getting the phone wet but my phone was waterproof. So we tried making the first call and it didn’t go through, the second call we were able to get through and David Berger at Orchid Bay called to the Coast Guard. It was really hard to get the phone call to go through because of the water and the waves and the touch screen didn’t work so well but with persistence and know I had to get the call to go through so we could be rescued was key.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: Fortunately, for Maguire’s crew, the Belize Coast Guard’s Consejo patrol unit was able to deploy within ten minutes of receiving the distress call. Petty Officer First Class, Dobian Montero, who led the operation, says the seamen headed out and were able to quickly locate the stranded vessel.
Dobian Montero, Petty Officer First Class, Sarteneja Patrol Station: “The distress call was no longer a distress call I was a search and rescue. So we deployed but the sea state at the time was very rough so one of my lookout spotted the vessel, well on the vessel at the time an object in the vessel. So we decided to head towards it and that is where we saw the vessel that had capsized. At the time it was two persons on top of the vessel and this was about 8:15 in the morning when we first made contact with the capsized vessel.But before we rescued the two individuals that were hanging on the vessel they informed us that they have five persons on the water,crew members that are already drifting from the vessel.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: And about half a mile away, Montero and his crew spotted the other persons clinging to life as they kept their heads above water.
Dobian Montero, Petty Officer First Class, Sarteneja Patrol Station: “As we got closer we saw some shadows around this white object. So as we got closer it was indeed five persons managing to hang onto this white ice box. So we were relieved because information received was five persons so we knew that we had to rescue them there and then. So we did what the Coast Guard does and we managed to bring all five persons from the water in the safety of our Coast Guard Vessel.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: And, after almost an hour of floating on the open sea, the persons were medically examined, provided with water, and brought to safety. For Maguire, the ordeal is one that she hopes to never experience again. She says that it is important for persons to be prepared when traveling the seas to avoid a similar fate.
Kimberly Maguire, Owner, Crimson Inn Resort: “If we could get the word out to people to know that it’s so important to be prepared on a boat and have the things you need that’s super important. And also that it took a network of organizations and people to come together to make the rescue happen and that nobody was hurt, nothing bad happened and it’s because of them.”
Vejea Alvarez, Love News: The Belize Coast Guard reminds the public that they can be reached at 999 in cases of emergencies. Vejea Alvarez, Love News.