This morning around 10:30 a.m. two missing men – Alfredo Catzim, 45, the assistant captain for the University of Belize (UB), and Francisco Garcia, age unknown, who set out yesterday en route to the Marine Research Centre located on Calabash Caye, were found after failing to make the journey and being reported missing. Calabash Caye is in the south-eastern side of the Turneffe atoll, which is located 32 miles from Belize City.
17 hours after setting out from Belize City the men were rescued and tonight, luckily for them, they are safe and in good health. This afternoon at about 2:00 p.m. the men’s skiff was towed into the city by a search team.
Tonight both me have returned safely to Calabash Caye to continue their work.
A police report today said that yesterday the two men left Belize City on board a 27-foot skiff named ISM1. The men were scheduled to arrive at Calabash Caye later that evening, but when they did not show up friends on the island became concerned and contacted the police.
A search party was quickly formed and this morning at about 10:30 a.m. the men were rescued and towed into San Pedro Ambergris Caye, and later to the city.
This afternoon Amandala spoke with an employee of the Marine Research Center at UB, Eden Garcia, who told us that it was a boat belonging to Amigos del Mar which found the men, and minutes later air patrol coast guard spotted them below.
Garcia, who is not related to Francisco Garcia, told us that the men experienced engine problems at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon near Sergeant’s Caye and drifted through the night until this morning.
They were found on the Barrier Reef in front of San Pedro Ambergris Caye, commented Garcia.
According to Garcia, the men told him that it quickly got dark and there was nothing they could do, so they stayed on the skiff and drifted until this morning.
With a boat filled with groceries and water, the men ate and all they could do was pray to be rescued, said Garcia.
At the break of dawn the men managed to get one of the engines to work and made it to the reef, where they were rescued.
Both men declined to give an interview upon their arrival in Belize City.
Catzim, who is stationed on Calabash Caye, had only journeyed to the city that day to make a drop-off, and Francisco Garcia, who is not employed with UB, had accompanied him on the journey.