The lone missing crewman being pulled onto the rescue boat. Photo from Facebook page of Captain Gerry Gouveia Sr.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana--Veteran pilot Captain Gerry Gouveia Sr. has reported an account of a rescue in the dangerously rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean that can only be described as a miracle on Christmas Day.
In an account shared on Monday, December 26, on his Facebook page, Captain Gouveia Sr., who is also National Security Advisor, said: “Even as some parts of the nation were celebrating Christmas, a small set of Guyanese fishermen was in the high seas working to feed their families when their vessel ran into rough seas and sank at approximately 20:30 hrs [8:30pm – Ed.] on Christmas night.
“The crew all outfitted themselves with life jackets and jumped into the raging Atlantic Ocean and scrambled into the life rafts, which were deployed as the vessel was sinking.
“The crew then recognised that one of their crew members was missing. They floated and floated and drifted all night on the raging ocean under blistering rain showers.
“They looked and looked and with heavy hearts but could not find their colleague. Eventually after drifting all night and into this [Monday] morning, they were located by another fishing vessel at 11:30 hrs [11:30am]. They then notified the Guyana Defence Force’s Coast Guard (CG).”
The Coast Guard immediately launched their rescue vessels and moved the distressed crew to safety on land, the captain adds. Meanwhile, other Coast Guard vessels began wide-sweeping search patterns trying to locate the lone missing crew member.
The soldiers were focused and determined. They searched and searched and searched even when the weather became dangerous. They never gave up, the captain states.
Captain Gouveia Sr. continues, “They then called out to Roraima Airways for air support and immediately, we dispatched an aircraft under the command of Captain Gerry Gouveia Jr. He was joined by the commanding officer of the Coast Guard and his team.
“They joined the search from the air in support of the vessels on the water. The weather was severe and rough, but together the Coast Guard vessels and the Roraima planes combed the ocean looking and looking.
“On this day, [Monday], God gave Guyana a gift of life. As the CG vessels and the Roraima aircraft began tightening the search pattern, the lone crew member was spotted by the soldiers in the CG vessels.”
After 20 hours of drifting aimlessly in the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, he was hauled aboard the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard vessel and brought to safety, the captain states.
“I would like to report that he is now in a safe place. Words cannot describe how grateful I feel tonight [Monday] to know that we have men and women in uniform who are brave and determined to serve and protect us,” the captain’s description of the incident concludes. ~ Guyana Chronicle ~