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Barrouallie fishermen rescued off coast of Columbia

Barrouallie fishermen rescued off coast of Columbia

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The relatives of two Barrouallie fishermen are thankful that both men are alive and well, and would be reunited with them soon.{{more}}

What was supposed to be a short trip to neighbouring St Lucia, turned into 16 days adrift at sea, before Matthew Francis and Roger Thomas were finally rescued by a passing ship that found them off the coast of Columbia.

According to a Foreign Affairs ministry official, the men are currently in capital city Bogota, and both countries are exploring all available channels to have them returned home as soon as possible.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the “Dole Africa”, a Columbian registered vessel, picked up Thomas of Keartons, whose age was given as 38, and 25-year-old Bottle and Glass resident Francis, adrift in Columbian waters on Sunday, July 22, 16 days after heading out to St Lucia to bring relatives and friends to St Vincent and the Grenadines for Vincy Mas.

The men were taken to Columbia, from where officials notified the St Vincent and the Grenadines Embassy in Washington, which in turn informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kingstown.

Emergency travel documents are being prepared to have the men returned to their homeland. This may take up to one week.

According to family members, when the men were close to St Lucia, the single engine in the 28-foot pirogue broke down, causing them to drift.

Family members said that calls were made by the men to persons in St Lucia, because they were unable to make contact with local numbers. The St Lucian friends in turn sent out a number of boats to look for the men, but did not locate them.

Relatives and friends in St Vincent were then informed.

It was not until Sunday that relatives could breathe a sigh of relief, when Thomas, a father of three girls, and Francis, the father of an infant son, called from Columbia to say that they were alive and well.

“Through all of it, I knew he (Roger) was alive,” said one relative. “If he was dead I would have known.

“I am very thankful for the effort made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I am excited to welcome them home,” she claimed.

“I am happy. I was crying when I hear he (Francis) called,” another family member said. “I have to give thanks and praise God that he is alive, because he is a good kid.

“I am hoping to see him as soon as possible,” she added.(JJ)

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