Friday, January 28

News item: A fisherman’s hand missing at sea, off Saint-Barth – Faxinfo

A dramatic fishing accident occurred on Saturday January 1 around 9 p.m. off Saint-Barth. A fisherman was allegedly struck by the winch of his boat and dragged away overboard. Despite an important device implemented, the research remained in vain.

A man fell into the sea more than 20 nautical miles south-east of Saint-Barthélemy; the Saint-Barth SNSM is already in the area with its SNS 269 speedboat and the CROSS asks the Saint-Martin SNSM to come in as reinforcement with its SNS 129 speedboat, in order to cover a larger area.

The Saint-Martin volunteer team members were alerted at 10:40 a.m. on Sunday morning and, 20 minutes later, they left the Fort Louis marina with the SNS 129 speedboat, with a 3 hour drive in front of them, to go over 45 nautical miles. from Marigot.

Arrived in the area at 2:00 p.m., they immediately began to make north-south round trips in the search area assigned to them by the CROSS.

The SNSM of Saint-Barth had been alerted at midnight. Arriving in the area at 2:00 am, she quickly spotted the fishing boat which was in a place without VHF coverage. When his teammate fell into the water, the captain had triggered his EPIRB distress beacon at 9:08 p.m., which made it possible to alert the emergency services.

The CROSS had succeeded in reaching a relative (listed as contact for the beacon) who confirmed that the boat was indeed at sea at the moment and that it was therefore certainly a real distress.

The CROSS therefore launched a mayday relay and a cruise ship had diverted to see what it was. There, the fishing boat tells them that there is a man overboard; and the cruise ship relays this information to CROSS-AG. They began the search and were joined by another cruise ship, as well as by a private yacht, then by the SNS 269 from Saint-Barth. After searching in vain for more than 2 hours, SNS 269 decides to accompany the remaining fisherman, very shocked, to the port of Gustavia where they arrive at 8:00 am.

They refuel and leave at 10:40 am, to resume research, awaiting reinforcement from SNS 129 from Saint-Martin as well as a SAR plane from Barbados which flies over the entire area and completes 3 search squares. , in vain.

SNS 269 and SNS 129 also completed their research squares, without success, and they returned empty-handed from their mission. Return to the quay at 6:00 p.m. for SNS 269 in St. Barth and at 8:00 p.m. for SNS 129 in Saint-Martin.

The next day we learn some additional details: they are fishermen who left Gosier, in Guadeloupe, 10 days ago. They used to fish together in pairs on their 11-meter boat for over 10 years.

The captain saw his teammate go overboard, pulled by the winch. He tried to catch him, managed to catch him by the ankle, but the teammate, weighing more than 90 kg, could not hold him to get him back on board.

He then sent him a buoy, but his teammate could not reach it and the captain then triggered his emergency beacon. It was pitch black and could no longer see his teammate, who was not wearing a life jacket and was not a good swimmer.

The captain in shock and was taken care of by the Saint-Barth hospital upon his arrival. Unfortunately, the missing person has still not been found.

The SNSM reminds all users of the sea that it is of the utmost importance to wear a life jacket (ideally equipped with a light) on any type of boat, at all times, and by everyone. And all the more so at night and at sea. A simple life jacket can be the difference between life and death.


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