Isla Mujeres, Q.R. – After five days of searching, officials are still unable to locate the five fishermen who went missing last week.
On the morning of March 30, five fishermen from Isla Mujeres set out in their 32-foot-boat Anastasia to fish for sharks along the Yucatan channel. The five were due to return that afternoon. They have not been seen or heard from since.
Four private boats headed out to sea the next morning along with the Mexican Search and Rescue team in search of the men, but they came up empty handed. The search has since been expanded to include the Gulf of Mexico, which is being combed by both the Mexican Navy and the United States Coast Guard. Relatives of the missing men have asked local authorities to expand their search even further to include international waters around Cuba and if necessary, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Panamá.
Arturo Baez, director of Ultramar, said they also took their largest vessel, 140-foot-long Piolin, out and scoured for 13 hours with six crew and 17 volunteers. Baez said they covered between 150 and 200 nautical miles of water toward the Gulf of Mexico.
Over the past several days, other local fishermen and divers with private boats have taken to various parts of the waters in search of their friends. Air patrols for the missing boat have also set out, covering more than 71,000 nautical miles without any sight of the boat.
Missing are Jorge Fernando Avalos, Marco Antonio Bardales, Alfonso Jiménez Torres, Russel Enrique Cemé and Humberto Constantino Ordaz .
Jaime Osorio, who is a relative of one of the fishermen said, “All hopes are pinned on the side of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Jamaica, everything depends on the currents; here, in this part of the Caribbean there is nothing to look for, would have to be in international waters and that is to focus the search.”
A boat, Guachisan, has been cleared for international sailing where she will head toward Cuba while a plane scours the sea from above. Both are cleared to leave for the island of Cuba Wednesday morning.