Jamaican Fishermen Saved after Spending Weeks at Sea
Everton Gregory, 54, and John Sobah, 58, are Jamaican fishermen who were rescued by a Colombian naval ship after drifting at sea for more than 20 days. Photo courtesy: San Andres Hoy.
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2012) – Two fishermen are expected back in Kingston, Jamaica, on Saturday, after a day on the water in late November turned into a three-week adventure that landed them in the territorial waters of Colombia.
Everton Gregory, 54, and John Sobah, 58, are professional fishermen from the Food For The Poor fishing village in the town of Lyssons, which is located in St. Thomas Parrish on the eastern coast of the island.
When the men boarded the 28-foot fishing boat, they went with their tackle and just enough food and water for a few days. When the time came to head back, the boat’s motor failed.
After a day, when the men did not return, Food For The Poor sent out a search team that included a chartered plane and scanned the waters near Jamaica. When days turned into a week and when a search party turned up empty-handed, family and friends of Gregory and Sobah feared that both men were forever lost at sea. Out of radio range, the boat drifted for more than 20 days and more than 500 miles. The men survived by eating dried fish and sipping melted ice from their cooler. Before the fishermen were saved off the Caribbean island of Quitasueño near San Andrés, they went six days without water.
“With provisions running low, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for these two fishermen who were adrift for weeks in the Caribbean Sea without a soul or land in sight,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “We are thankful to God and to Colombia’s officials for rescuing these fishermen and for helping us to return these men back to Jamaica in time to celebrate Christmas with their families.”
After the fishermen were picked up by a Colombian naval ship, they were taken to San Andrés where they received food and medical treatment. San Andrés is among the Colombian islands in the Caribbean Sea and is more than 400 miles away from Colombia’s mainland. It is close to Nicaragua.
The matter was reported to the Jamaican Embassy in Bogota, where the necessary paper work was processed for the fishermen to return to Jamaica. The fishing boat was towed to Providencia, which is one of several islands in Colombia’s chain of Caribbean islands.
Both men say they are excited and grateful to be heading back to Jamaica and are calling their sea rescue a real life miracle.
Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 96 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor.
For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.