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Costa Rica - Message in a bottle saves 88 castaways
Agencia EFE ^ | May 30, 2005

Posted on 05/30/2005 4:13:50 PM PDT by HAL9000

San Jose, May 30 (EFE).- Eighty-eight castaways adrift for nine days at sea after immigrant smugglers abandoned them to their fate were rescued on the weekend off Costa Rica's Pacific coast after a fisherman pulled from the ocean a bottle containing a desperate message for help written by one of the group.

Marviva organization director Francisco Estrada told EFE that the group consisted of 48 Ecuadorians and 40 Peruvians, adding that 18 of them were women and the rest were men of assorted ages.

The rescue was made Sunday morning in a joint operation by Costa Rican authorities and Marviva, a private ecological organization dedicated to conservation on Cocos Island, near where the group was found floating on their leaking boat.

The Public Security Ministry reported that the shipwrecked travelers were picked up and transported to Cocos Island some 600 kilometers (375 miles) southwest of the Costa Rican mainland.

Estrada said information was scanty at this early stage, but members of the group had said they were all illegal emigrants who had been set adrift by the alien smugglers who were transporting them to Guatemala.

He said that the group had set sail from Puerto Montañita in Ecuador in a boat that later developed a leak and began to sink.

Estrada said that the alien traffickers apparently had deserted the craft taking all the navigation and communication equipment with them.

"Incredibly, it seems that the boat's crew took the equipment and so these people, who had no (sailing) experience, wrote the message 'Help, please help me' and placed it inside a bottle," which they threw overboard and which fortunately was found by a Costa Rican fisherman, he continued.

The fisherman alerted Cocos Island by radio and the guards of the nature park there contacted Marviva.

Cocos Island is the site of a Costa Rican national park and was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The island has no native inhabitants and the only persons living there are park guards who oversee the nature reserve's ecology.

Many among the shipwrecked group were exhibiting signs of seasickness, as well as vomiting. Virtually all were dehydrated, hungry and having assorted other health problems.

The Public Security Ministry announced that on Sunday night the patrol craft Pancha Carrasco carrying 320 kilograms (704 pounds) of food and personal hygiene items embarked for Cocos Island but, due to the distance involved, the boat would take about 36 hours to arrive there.

Costa Rican authorities have reported the incident to the governments of Ecuador and Peru, and it is expected that the authorities of both South American countries will send a boat or boats in the coming hours to collect the undocumented immigrants.



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aliens; castaways; costarica; ecuador; latinamerica; messageinabottle; peru; turass

1 posted on 05/30/2005 4:13:50 PM PDT by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000
"Message in a bottle..."


2 posted on 05/30/2005 4:18:12 PM PDT by 68skylark
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To: HAL9000

Wow, they were lucky to be found.


3 posted on 05/30/2005 4:18:27 PM PDT by csvset
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To: HAL9000

Why would anyone want to immigrate from Peru to Guatamala?


4 posted on 05/30/2005 4:22:44 PM PDT by Mercat
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To: Mercat

My guess is to eventually wind up in LA.


5 posted on 05/30/2005 4:23:22 PM PDT by csvset
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To: HAL9000
Message in a bottle saves 88 castaways

Now why didn't the Professor think of this?

6 posted on 05/30/2005 4:24:07 PM PDT by lowbridge
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To: HAL9000

And they were headed where? Here I suppose.


7 posted on 05/30/2005 4:27:58 PM PDT by jocon307
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To: Mercat
Why would anyone want to immigrate from Peru to Guatamala?

Because they were headed for the States although the article does not say this.

8 posted on 05/30/2005 4:43:51 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Mercat

Because from Guatemala they can cross into Mexico, and from there to either Houston or Los Angeles.


9 posted on 05/30/2005 4:47:02 PM PDT by ViLaLuz
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