Surviving Falling Star crew members say five colleagues died at seaSaturday, July 17, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
GLENN Tuttle, co-manager of boatwatch.org, says men on the ill-fated Falling Star lobster fishing vessel could all have been rescued had the boat been equipped with an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB).
Ten of the 15-member crew were rescued Thursday and the other five are now said to be dead.
The Falling Star was returning from dry docking/routine maintenance overseas when it went missing on July 6. Tuttle told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that based on information from the 10 surviving crew members, who are currently receiving medical attention at hospital, the vessel capsized around midnight on July 6, killing four of the men. The remaining 11 boarded a skiff and were floating around before 10 of them were rescued by a commercial ship that left Kingston, Jamaica, for Guatemala. The captain of the Falling Star, they reported, died on the skiff on Wednesday.
According to Tuttle, had there been an EPIRB installed on the vessel more men could have been saved.
“They are recovering. They were dehydrated. One was in pretty bad shape [and] had to be taken off the ship with a hoist, but they had a doctor there who started working on him right away. I think they all are going to make it. It's a dangerous place out there.
“But if there is one thing to take away from the situation, [it] is that every one of these fishing boats needs [an] emergency positioning beacon on-board. For around US$800, everyone ought to have one on-board. EPIRB sends a signal to a satellite and then from the satellite to an emergency rescue centre anywhere in the world — and they could have had an airplane or helicopter out over that boat before it went down,” said Tuttle.
Roger Lyn, director of marketing and corporate affairs at Rainforest, on whose behalf the vessel was operating, told the Observer yesterday that he could not confirm or deny the report from Tuttle and said a proper press release would be provided soon to give an update.
— Jason Cross