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Fishermen Rescued After Weeks At Sea


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Fishermen rescued after weeks at sea

FIVE Costa Rican fishermen stranded at sea survived on sea turtles and tuna for more than five weeks before they were rescued off the coast of El Salvador.

The fishermen, all but one teenagers, were rescued on Sunday by a Polish-flagged merchant ship as their broken-down boat was slowly taking on water and sinking, Costa Rican Public Security Ministry spokesman Ingrid Luna said.

A few days after sailing in mid-November from the port of Playas del Coco in Costa Rica, the fishermen's 11m boat sustained mechanical problems that left it adrift, she said.

"Once they realised they were lost, the fishermen began burning clothes and blankets to get the attention of other ships, as well aircraft they saw flying nearby, which didn't work," said Ms Luna.

She identified the fishermen as Gregorio Collado, 41, Minier Manuel Taylor, 17, Roder Andres Quintero, 18, Beiry Gregorio Taylor, 18, and Kevin de Jesus Reyes, 15.

The fishermen rationed themselves half a cup of water each day, and as well as catching tuna and sea turtles, they ate a little rice they had on board, said Ms Luna.

Drifting off the coast of El Salvador, the fishermen spotted the Polish-flagged merchant vessel and attracted its attention by waving plastic bags.

Taken by the ship to Costa Rican waters, the survivors were picked up by a coast guard ship and taken to a hospital, where they were treated for sunburn and dehydration.

Last August, three Mexican fishermen were rescued after drifting more than 8000km across the Pacific Ocean for nine months in a flimsy fishing boat.

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