Six crew members of the missing vessel Miss Janice have been
found safe and well after floating in the water for nine days.
According to family members, the men managed to survive afloat in the Caribbean on board a life raft.
All six men were found by an oil tanker around just before noon Tuesday.
The men are identified as Caymanians Travis Welcome (the boat owner), Chad Ebanks, Ernest Rankine, Elvis Welcome, and Honduran nationals Ted Woods and Michael Garcia.
Police confirmed late Tuesday that one of the crew
members of the boat, Mr. Welcome, contacted his family to say all six men
who had been on board the sunken Miss Janice were safe.
The Miss Janice sank on Sunday, 17 July, about five hours
after setting sail from Grand Cayman.
Janice Welcome, Travis’s wife and the person for whom the boat was named, said she had been praying for her husband’s rescue.
“I knew in my heart he was alive,” Mrs. Welcome said. “This has been a nightmare.”
The sunken boat had been loaded up with goods that were earmarked to be sold in Honduras, Mrs. Welcome said.
“Since things have been hard Travis was doing this to try and make ends meet,” she said.
According to Mr. Welcome’s family, his daughter received a call from a satellite phone that was on board the oil tanker just after the men were picked up.
Details of how the men survived for roughly nine days aboard the small raft were not immediately known by family members, who said they couldn’t stay on the satellite phone to talk for long.
Police said the men had been floating without
any food or water when they were picked up by the tanker – CPO Sweden – which was on route to Houston, Texas. .
Family members said they were told the tanker would get into Houston around 11am Wednesday. However, Houston-area marine officials later said it was likely the men wouldn’t make into port until Thursday. .
Police said Mr. Welcome also spoke to Royal Cayman Islands Police Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay by satellite phone Tuesday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning, local police announced they had called off the search for the six missing boaters after a five-day hunt that covered some 3,000 miles of ocean and involved coast guard agencies from several different countries including Honduras, Belize, Jamaica and assistance from a British warship that was visiting Cayman last week.