Trinidad: 2 Carli Bay fishermen dead, two missing in boat mishap

By Gail Alexander

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Siblings Kevon and Kimberly Gyandass comfort each other after their father Seunarine Gyandass’ life jacket was found yesterday at sea, after his boat sunk off the Gulf of Paria on Sunday. * Kristian De Silva

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Moya Gyan­dass paced anx­ious­ly along the Car­li Bay shore­line yes­ter­day, as the par­ty who went search­ing for her hus­band Sie­u­nar­ine Gyan­dass and neigh­bour Vedesh Mar­lo re­turned. But Gyan­dass’ hope for a mir­a­cle was quick­ly re­duced to tears as all the crew re­turned with was the life jack­et her hus­band was last seen wear­ing.

Sie­u­nar­ine was the own­er of a flat bot­tom boat that took the ill-fat­ed trip to the Gulf of Paria on Sun­day af­ter­noon. Two of his rel­a­tives drowned while he and Mar­lo dis­ap­peared af­ter the jumped over­board when the boat be­gan tak­ing in wa­ter. Two men al­so sur­vived the or­deal.

Ken­neth Ram­per­sad, who led the search team, said they reached close to Venezuela but had to re­turn be­cause their gas was run­ning low. Ram­per­sad, a cousin, said on their way back he spot­ted the life jack­et float­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, Sie­u­nar­ine, 51, his broth­er Chu­ni­lal Gyan­dass, 53, broth­er-in-law Ku­mar Lal­la, 49, cousin Ronald Nar­i­nesingh, 36 and Mar­lo, 23 and his cousin Glen Pra­ha­l­ad, 34, left Car­li Bay around 1 pm Sun­day to fish. But the chop­py sea con­di­tion caused the boat to take in wa­ter and around 3 pm when it be­gan to sink the men jumped out.

Lal­la, who wore a life jack­et and Pra­ha­l­ad were able to swim back to shore but the oth­ers drift­ed away.

The T&T Coast Guard re­spond­ed and along with the men’s rel­a­tives and fel­low fish­er­men, the search be­gan but was called off a few hours lat­er be­cause of fad­ing light. The search re­sumed and around 11.30 am yes­ter­day and they found the bod­ies of Chu­ni­lal and Nar­i­nesingh, which had drift­ed al­most 80 kilo­me­tres south-east from where they jumped over­board. The search con­tin­ued for Sie­u­nar­ine and Mar­lo late yes­ter­day.

Lal­la said Nar­i­nesingh had held on­to a cool­er but the cur­rent was too strong. Sie­u­nar­ine, who had a life jack­et, was said to have on­ly thrown it around his neck. The boat, along with the en­gines, sank and has not been re­cov­ered.

Lal­la, who re­turned to the beach yes­ter­day, re­called that when they reached their des­ti­na­tion, they an­chored the boat with a met­al rim and threw their fish­ing lines. He said be­cause the wa­ter was rough, fish were not bit­ing.

“All the boys said that we should go ashore, re­lax and then go back. They start­ed the boat en­gine and it raced off. The front raised and that was it. The wa­ter splashed in­side the boat and the cur­rent pulled it down.

“All of us jumped over­board. I had on a floater (life jack­et). I float up, but the rest, my cousin and broth­er-in-law, jumped out and the cur­rent pulled them down. I could not help them, I stud­ied to save my­self,” Lal­la said.

Reach­ing back to shore was pre­car­i­ous, as the cur­rent kept pulling Lal­la south-east. He said he re­laxed his body in the wa­ter to stay afloat and as the tide de­scend­ed, he swam to shore.

Car­li Bay has a mud­dy shore­line which can cause sea-bathers to get stuck. Lal­la said he had to crawl un­til one of his rel­a­tives on the shore saw him and rushed to his as­sis­tance. He be­lieves if all the men had worn jack­ets they all would have sur­vived.

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