Headline — 24 September 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego

A Caye Caulker fisherman, 55, survived a 19-hour ordeal at sea after strong currents and wind washed him out to sea.

Onocisero Hernandez and his three friends were diving and fishing at about 8:00 Thursday morning in the open sea in the Caye Caulker area when he went down and did not resurface. His companions, Donicio Edwards, Valentin Verde, and Jimmy Andrews, became frantic and tried to find him, and after their efforts failed, the three friends went to the Caye Caulker Police Station and reported Hernandez missing.

An immediate search to find him was mounted, which included the Caye Caulker police and the Fisheries unit, along with fishermen and friends.

However, the search was fruitless. What they didn’t know was that at about 2:30 Friday morning, after floating for over 19 hours, Hernandez was able to swim to the southern area of Caye Caulker.

Sergeant Delvin Zuniga, Deputy Commander of Caye Caulker police, said that Hernandez told them that while he was diving with his friends that Thursday morning, he was swept away by a strong current because of weather conditions, and drifted outside the reef.

Hernandez said that he remained calm, and tried to swim back to Caye Caulker, but the conditions and the current were against him, so he waited for conditions to change. He said that when the conditions changed on Friday night, the current and the wind swept him to Caye Caulker.

He was taken to the Caye Caulker Medical Center, where a doctor examined him, and he was found to be in good health, although there were small cuts on his feet due to his contact with the reef.


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