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CLARE VALLEY MOURNS

CLARE VALLEY MOURNS

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Emotions in the South Leeward village of Clare Valley are mixed. There is a feeling of happiness that Vanrick Allick, a 31-year-old fisherman had survived nearly three days in the raging waters between mainland St. Vincent and its northern neighbour St. Lucia.

But two colleagues, Julian Alexander aged 28, and Alphonso Allick, 20, were missing. Hopes of finding them were receding as the hours drifted. With each passing moment, optimism alters into despair and hopes for one miracle were minimising.{{more}}

Vanrick, captain of the 25-foot fishing boat Surprise, left with his crew around 5 a.m. last Sunday on a fishing expedition. According to information from Vanrick, a wave shut off their 75 HP Yamaha engine around 9 that morning. A subsequent wave swamped the craft as the men tried desperately to get the engine restarted.

Alfonso Allick grabbed a gas jug, while Vanrick and Alexander were together on another gas container. Vanrick confirmed Alexander’s drowning, he having complained about being unable to maintain the battle with the waves.

Around 2 p.m. last Tuesday, bathers on Dauphin Beach, about six miles north west of St. Lucia’s capital Castries rescued Vanrick.

He had sunburns to his face and was drained from 53 hours clinging precariously onto the fuel container.

He was taken to the Victoria Hospital and then to the Gros Islet Police Station.

Famil members, and loved ones waited anxiously on Wednesday for his return, keen on a reunion, but grief still filled their hearts for the missing men.

Meanwhile searches continued by the St. Lucia Marine Police for any signs of wreck from the boat, and the missing persons.

This latest mishap follows on the crest of another incident in which seven persons went missing on a boat which left Canouan around 5 p.m. Sunday, March 27. Since then, even following widespread searches by units of the Regional Security System, over an extensive area, there have been no signs of either passengers or craft.

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