August 15, 2023
A group of quick-thinking Sabans early Monday morning came to the rescue of four persons from Nevis whose boat had been drifting helplessly in the Caribbean Sea since Sunday afternoon and had been labelled as missing.A local passer-by who happened to be at Saba’s harbour around 6:00am Monday heard screams for help coming from the water. When she looked up, she noticed the four stranded passengers waving their hands frantically onboard the stricken vessel, which was bobbing in the waves some 100 feet away.She then called local fisherman Nicholas “Nicky” Johnson, who quickly went out on his fishing boat Spirit of Saba and towed the vessel into the harbour.
.When they were safely on shore, the Saba Red Cross provided the four passengers with dry clothing and some of their local acquaintances ensured they had something to eat after their night adrift.The small boat had been returning to Nevis on Sunday afternoon, after a trip to Anguilla, when the vessel encountered fuel issues. When the passengers tried to restart the boat, they realised that the battery was dead.The passengers also had no means of making an emergency call because their phone batteries were dead too, explained Saba Harbourmaster Travis Johnson.It had actually been another boat that raised the alarm. That vessel had been accompanying them on the journey and quickly realised that they were no longer trailing behind.Authorities searched for the missing vessel for most of Sunday afternoon. It was finally spotted by the flight crew of a Windward Islands Airways Winair plane around 5:45pm, who reported its position as 13 nautical miles northeast of St. Eustatius, according to a statement by the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN.With light fading fast, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard still could not find the distressed boat and the search had to be called off on Sunday night.“A lot was going on behind the scenes from the time I was contacted on Sunday afternoon, trying to locate the last known area of the boat,” said Mavis. “However, for safety measures, we had to call off the search.”Luckily for the four passengers, the tides and currents took them directly to Saba’s harbour.“It was an act of God which led them ashore,” said Travis. “I want to thank all who took part in this rescue effort.” The St. Kitts and Nevis Coast Guard sailed to Saba on Monday and took the four passengers back home.However, because of its mechanical issues and ongoing unfavourable weather conditions, the boat they were travelling on will remain moored in Saba for the time being.The stranded vessel (left) next to fishing boat “Spirit of Saba” after being towed safely to shore on Monday.
Photo by the Caribbean Netherlands Police Force KPCN.The Daily Herald.