Skip to comments.Fishermen rescued after 9 months adrift 8,000 km from home
Posted on 08/19/2006 2:24:19 PM PDT by Valin
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Mexicans lost two crewmates
August 19, 2006
Mexico City: THE miraculous story of three Mexican fishermen who survived nine months adrift in the Pacific Ocean in a small boat has taken a new turn after it was revealed there were five men on board the vessel when it began its voyage.
Joel Hernandez Garcia, an official with the Mexican foreign ministry, said there were five people on board the boat when it set off on October 28 from the village of San Blas on Mexico's Pacific coast to fish for shark in local waters.
The boat was blown off course by a storm, and after running out of petrol, drifted for more than nine months and 8000 kilometres until the three survivors were rescued last week by a Taiwanese tuna trawler.
"Two of (the missing fishermen) apparently died after the passage to the open sea, as they were drifting," Mr Garcia said. "The survivors have mentioned the probable time of death of the first person as January and the second person a month later."
No mention was made of the dead fishermen during interviews with Mexican broadcasters earlier this week.
But the operator of the Taiwanese boat said he thought the men said there had been five men, media reports said.
The missing trio said they survived on raw fish, raw ducks, raw seagulls and rainwater. They caught the fish with hooks attached to the end of electric cables from the boat's motor.
"At one point, we went for 15 days without anything to eat," one of the survivors, Jesus Vidana, 61, said.
Mr Garcia made his remarks after talking to Mr Vidana, who indicated "there was little to eat and that the other two refused to eat".
Mr Garcia said the bodies of the two dead fisherman had been thrown overboard.
The men said a Bible on board gave them hope and strengthened their faith. "We never lost hope, because we prayed day and night," Mr Vidana said.
The nine-metre-long, three-metre-wide boat was nearly sunk by huge waves that swamped the vessel, and survived several storms, the men said.
On August 9, the Taiwanese fishing crew spotted the crippled boat on their radar.
The Mexican Government said the men would be brought home as soon as possible.
They are now guests on the trawler, which is due to arrive in the Marshall Islands tomorrow.
Wow! That's a little more than a "three hour tour".
John 4:12-14 (Amplified Bible)
12Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also?
13Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. 14But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life.
Hire some ghostwriters, play up the Christian angle, get it published in the next 6 months, and blammo! Instant best seller.
Being a fishing boat, wouldn't they have better suited equipment to catch fish with?
After 15 days, maybe the other two guys started to look like seagulls????
I can't wait to hear the one-liner Jay Leno will have for this one......
I'm a born skeptic and the length of time reported here...I just don't know. I mean, Cap't. Bligh and company, were in that longboat only 41 days with a couple of landfalls thrown in and that feat was called unbelievable.
I also wonder if cannabalism enters into this story as well. A not unheard of event whith men adrift at sea for long periods.
Believe it or not PING!
I'm sure the journey just got all the worse when the toilet paper ran out.
It says they were shark fishing on an 8 meter(about 25 foot) boat and with 5 guys onboard you gotta wonder where they were going to put the shark!
You'd think they could of afforded some rods and reels if they could afford twin 200 outboards huh? ;-)
I witnessed a rescue at sea. Three men were drifting in a small fishing boat for almost 3 weeks when the cruise ship we were on spotted them. It was quite exciting watching the rescue.
Maybe. But my hope someone in Hollywood will reward them by paying for their story.
I agree. The story also seems to morph into an epic with each passing day.
I think the tv series has already been done---it was called "Gilligan's Island" if I recall correctly.
"...survived by eating seagulls, drinking rainwater and reading the Bible..."
New Oprah-Doprah Diet?
Sounds like an upcomming episode from the Discovery Channel's "I Shouldn't Be Alive".
...it rained nearly every day of their ordeal, providing them with fresh water to drink....We took down any bird that landed on our boat and we ate it like that, raw..They caught the fish with hooks attached to the end of electric cables from the boat's motor...
I don't know how often it rains in that part of the Pacific but that I can believe, but do birds willingly land in boats to be grabbed and eaten and why did fishermen have to improvise fishing gear?
A 'fishing' boat ... the size of a pickup truck and with TWO whopping engines.... and lessee... no fishing gear.
this is a miracle. 3 men adrift for 8 months.. 1 bible, and the will to live. truly amazing.
Worse than Spam. I suspect cannibalism, too. The whole story is fishy. Fifteen days without food?
More than likely the boat was a 24 foot fiberglass skiff. The skiff is the boat of choice for the mexican people and is used for everything from bait fishing, lobster trapping, transportation, to even marlin fishing. They come in various sizes. I tend to believe the story as is. Navigation equipment is scarce on Mexican skiffs, and I think that they were probably fishing with a sort of longline, which are long lines of baited hooks suspended by floats, which would account for their lack of equipment. Smuggling anything by skiff from San Blas would be an exercise in futility if you look at the location of San Blas.
I'm guessing with all the blow that was probably aboard that boat they spent a lot of sleepless days nights fishing and catching gulls.
A 'fishing' boat ... the size of a pickup truck
The nine-metre-long, three-metre-wide boat
Be real now, that boat is a lot bigger than a pickup truck. That size boat would have an enclosed cabin big enough for the crew to sleep out of the weather and avoid excessive sun exposure. Granted it still sounds fishy but "the size of a pickup truck" is not realistic.
Like I said, I have no proof. Twin 200's on a 24 footer makes for a rather fast vessel, not exactly like any long liner I've ever known and I've spent a good deal of time in the NY bight. They could afford these engines but had no compass? I'm not talking GPS or plotters or radar or sonar but not even a hand held compass? Not a lot of room to stow catch in a 24 footer with 3/5 men and fishing equipment on board. Smugglers have been known to meet ships somewhere over the horizon, take on contraband and return to shore for overland transport, so the location (if that is even valid) means nothing to me.
It just doesn't pass my smell test.
The Pacific is a big empty place to be lost in.
I saw a pickup truck today that was the size of a Coast Guard Cutter...
Maybe they nicknamed them Seagull and Duck.
Sport fishermen usually use a 25 to 35 HP motor hung next to the twins for trawling...
Another thing I didn't mention, these OBs have to drink at least 10gals/hr. Where would they carry enough fuel to make fishing trips an economically viable proposition.
Even if the report of 9 meters is correct. That's a 30 footer. Slower than a 24, but not exactly a scow either.
Then we get into the time element, nine months of exposure in the open ocean. If a 24, the best they would have is a Bimini top. How long would that last? The wave action alone would rip out the fasteners in the first month. If a 30' even with a cabin, wave action alone for a couple of months would have stuff breaking all over the place.
This just doesn't ring true to me Joe.
Long liners are not sport guys and there is no report of the boat having a kicker.
PS, it's trolling. Trawl is a net.
You don't "fish for shark" at 30 mph and your right about trawl vs troll. Humboldt Bay was home to many trawlers before they fished themselves out of business...
I went really low on the fuel consumption because the biggest outboard I ever owned was a 125.
I just looked up Nissan 140 HP, they drink 15gal/hr. Those twin 200's have to drink at least 35gal/hr.
Nothing makes sense in this story
BTW...did you know that as a taxpayer you own several former trawlers?
I'd never correct you on anything automotive though.
A man's gotta know his limitations
Oh yeah, and the money that was paid for them went to buy some other kind of fishing boat. That is unless you're talking about the impounds from the Marielle (sp?) boat lift.
It's all cool. I'm just releating what I've seen in my travels delivering yachts and fishing the coasts from Washington to Panama. I know that Mexican fishermen are a simple people, in a simple world, and the simplest explanation in their case is probably what happened. Mexicans will hang whatever they can get their hands on on the end of a skiff, and perhaps they only used one engine at a time, so when one goes belly up they have another. We're both speculating here, so I guess we'll have to wait for the rest of the story. :)
Some of these guys didn't take the buyout and bought a couple of thousand crab pots and are cleaning out the crab beds in the fist 7 days of the season killing the 200 pot boats baring any Dec storms that sand in the pots and smother the catch...
Can't argue with that. Like I said, I've got no proof, but I've learned to listen to my belly.
Just out of curiosity, 100 ton, 100 mi?