Jun 03, 2009 News Comments Off on Two found
Bodies recovered at Essequibo River mouth
Anxiety turned into grief yesterday for the relatives of four fishermen after two bodies were recovered yesterday.
Ranks of the Guyana Defence Force Coastguard discovered the bodies of cousins, Ramlall and Basdeo Ramphal, at the mouth of the Essequibo River around midday yesterday.
However, they only succeeded in bringing Ramlall Ramphal’s body to the Charity Wharf late yesterday afternoon.
Sources in the area told this newspaper that Basdeo Ramphal’s body was still lying on a mud flat, which the rescue team found difficult to access.
The discovery followed a massive aerial and riverain search carried out by the Defence Force coast guard that was called into the search for the missing fishermen on Monday.
Family members had been desperately hoping that the crew of the ‘Sir Kegan’, captain Michael Ramlochan, 14-year-old Peter Torres and the two Ramphals were still alive although there were signs that they suffered a terrible fate.
Now that the two bodies have been found, there is little hope of finding Ramlochan and Torres alive.
The crew had left the Meadow Bank wharf last week Tuesday and was to return two days later.
Their relatives began to worry when another fishing crew brought in the Sir Kegan’s flag and a piece of seine on Friday.
They waited until Sunday and when the crew still did not show up, panic stepped in.
A search was launched early Sunday morning and lasted until afternoon but still there was no sign of the men or their boat.
The relatives’ fears worsened when news that the icebox of the missing vessel was pulled ashore on the Essequibo Coast was relayed on Monday.
They were now convinced that the ‘Sir Kegan’ had met with ill fate but they were still hopeful that somehow the crew had survived. Another fishing crew discovered the icebox about 10 miles off the coastline on Thursday.
According to one of the fishermen who found the icebox, it was filled with fish that had begun to rot.
From as early as Monday there were reports that bodies had washed up near Moruca.
Yesterday relatives insisted that the reports be checked out and after several hours of searching by the coast guard, the worst fears were confirmed.
“The body (Ramlall Ramphal) bad. The flesh loose up. Tomorrow, early in the morning we will go back and bring in the other one,” a member of the search party told this newspaper.
The source also assured that the search would continue for the boat’s captain and the other missing crewmember.
It is almost certain that the ‘Sir Kegan’ sank in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to fishermen, attempts were made to pull up the piece of seine that was found where the boat’s flag was recovered but “something was holding it down”.
Nalinie Singh, wife of the boat’s captain Michael Ramlochan, told this newspaper that although the two bodies have been found she is still not convinced that her husband is dead.
“He’s a good swimmer. He will fight to the end. Until I see him dead I will still believe that he is alive,” Singh said.
Agriculture Minister Robert Persaud who had visited the crewmembers’ relatives on Monday, yesterday expressed his condolences after he learnt that two bodies were recovered.
He told this newspaper that the government had instructed that every possible resource be deployed in the search for the missing crew.
“This has reminded us how risky it is for our fisher folk from day to day,” Minister Persaud said.
He assured that his Ministry would be in constant talks with fishermen in an effort to further improve on their safety.
The police on the Essequibo Coast have taken possession of the ice box, while the body of Ramlall Ramphal is awaiting a post mortem examination.
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