The body of a woman was found in Mexican waters yesterday following an intense search over the weekend. On Thursday, June 1, a vessel from Sarteneja with eight passengers left enroute to Calderitas with plans to leave at 6pm and return to Sarteneja at about 8pm. The vessel, however, did not make it to Sarteneja and at about 5:45 on Friday morning, a call went out to the Belize Coast Guard. Love News spoke with Lieutenant Armando Cobb of the BCG who explained what action was taken immediately after they were informed that the party had not returned home.
LT ARMANDO COBB
“What we did was call the patrol, we activated them and about thirty minutes later they deployed to the area. However being that the situation had happened on the Mexican side, in addition to that we called our counterpart the Mexican Navy informed them of the situation and they in return activated their vessels to conduct a search in their waters. The coastguard coordinated with them on this operation. What we did was pretty much comb our waters which would be the border line between Mexico and Belize while the Mexican Navy conducted their patrols in the immediate area where the accident had occurred and the Chetumal Bay. That transpired through Friday and then that concluded at about 17:00 in the evening and then we resumed the operations early in the morning on both ends. In addition to this the coastguard had requested the authorities to grant permission to the family members who had search parties in the area to conduct their search in Mexican waters because the main situation here was that the search and rescue was being led by the Mexican Navy due to the fact that the entire area where the incident had occurred was the Calderitas area in Mexican waters, therefore they were the lead organization for this search and rescue while we stayed in communication with them and coordinated with them in order for them to cover all of the grounds where the incident occurred. On Sunday we also then dispatched the patrol and the Mexican Navy dispatched two of their interceptors into the area of Calderitas while we remained on the border line combing the area of the Chetumal Bay, Consejo and some parts of the Corozal Bay. I understand that the family members were also conducting a search in the Calderitas area. A little after at about ten o’clock on Sunday we received a call from my patrol that they had received information that family members had found the missing person in Mexican waters and were transporting the body to the Corozal Community Hospital. We later confirmed that information with the police department who confirmed that the body was found and had been transported to the Corozal Community Hospital.”
The Belize Coast Guard had come under some heavy criticism over the weekend from some residents in the area who were saying that the Belize Coast Guard was not assisting in the search of the missing woman. Lieutenant Cobb explained why some persons may have drawn that conclusion.
LT ARMANDO COBB
“The coast guard was present during the search, it was from the initial report in the area doing search. However what might have been the situation was that I guess the community or the people who are used to seeing the huge white boat conducting search whenever the coast guard is being called. In this case because we operate jointly with the customs department at Consejo the Consejo patrol deployed on board a Consejo vessel which is a smaller vessel with the same capabilities of doing search and rescue and they were in the vicinity of Consejo as before and the Chetumal Bay; so that might be the situation where people did not realize the coast guard was indeed in the area but not onboard a coast guard boat as all the people are used to seeing. However we were on Friday, on Saturday and even on Sunday when the bod was found we were still in the area. Also in addition to that we must also remember that because of the area where the search and rescue was being conducted which is the Mexican side there are certain protocols and restrictions that must be adhered to as coast guard and the Mexican Navy. We have a very good relationship with the Mexican Navy and because the incident had occurred in Mexican waters they took the lead in it and then we coordinated from here and liaising with the Mexicans. They were keeping us well informed of the information and so were we, we did our search in our waters while they did their search in their waters with the intent of covering as much ground as possible.”
The eight persons had set out on a recreational trip to Calderitas on Thursday as is the norm for many who reside in the Sarteneja area.