Survivors recount sea ordeal

Florence, his friend, his son and his nephew – both teenagers — were drifting at sea for hours after the single engine on their boat failed Monday afternoon.

“I prayed; I prayed a lot because we had the two young boys. I asked why is it when the boys (came) that that was happening. All the time I’m going with other guys nothing happening, now I bring the two little boys, my son and my nephew who wanted to come for the experience, it wasn’t a good experience for them,” Florence said yesterday.

The 47 year old told OBSERVER that although he was fearful something terrible could have happened, he kept faith that God would intervene.

“(The boys) were vomiting a lot but they said they weren’t sick … I knew we’d get by because I was praying to the Almighty and I believe in Him because several times things happened to me and I prayed and he helped. Everybody is okay right now,” Florence said.

The captain’s friend, Jefferson Joseph, explained what led to the engine failure that occurred around 2 pm that day.

“We hooked a dolphin and it was a huge one. It passed under the boat so we didn’t want the line to pass into the engine. So we turned off the engine and raised the boat so the line (could) pass freely underneath the boat. After that, we brought down the engine but it would just not start. For the whole afternoon we tried,” he said.

Joseph said he tried to tie the boat to one of the captain’s Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) but the rope slipped away and the boat began drifting.

“…So I had to swim back to the boat. It took a while before I could catch up with the boat. Winston had to jump out the boat and push back the boat against the wind so I could catch up with the boat until I came out successful. I must have been swimming for about an hour,” Joseph said.

The fishermen said they tried until dusk to start the engine and when all failed, they decided to rest through the night and try again at daybreak. He said the VHF radio they had was of no use because they were way out of range and they had no cellular phone reception to call for help.


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