Adrift at the sea for four days without food and water, three friends say they survived on faith and sheer willpower to return home to their loved ones.
Using the sea knowledge and survival skills, Shaquille Charles, Walter Whiteman, and Anthony Sandy rode the tide until they made it to shore at Morne Diablo yesterday morning.
“It was hard and giving up was out of the key although we weak and everything. We could not give in,” said Sandy.
After leaving on a pirogue from the Guayaguayare port last Friday, the boat’s propeller malfunctioned on Saturday.
They tried tying it up but that only worked for eight miles, but they were still 15 miles away from land.
Recalling their harrowing experience at the Mayaro Health Facility yesterday, Whiteman said, “It was very torturous but I am glad to be home.”
They built a sail and used their anchor to guide them back to land.
“When the tide going back out we throw out the anchor so the tide would not carry we back out to Venezuela and when tide change back to Trinidad we take back up we anchor again. We did that for two, three days.”
Eventually, he said the tide brought them home. Charles said on Sunday they saw the search and rescue plane and they waved, but the plane flew past them.
“That whole experience was not nice. We survived by just faith, no water, no food.” But, he said they never gave up.
“Every day we kept saying we have to go home and holding the faith.”
Sandy said the current took them to Venezuelan waters.
“But, again current, sail and tactics, everybody put in their coins to make it happen. We have to survive,” he added.
Thankful to their family, friends, community, and the search and rescue teams who were out looking for them, Sandy said, “In any way they assist, small, big, it counts so we thankful for that.”
He said he was eager to get home to take a bath and eat.
Whiteman’s brother Kerry was relieved that they were back home, but he was disappointed by the lack of response from the law enforcement officers. “Honestly, we didn’t get no assistance from the authorities, Coast Guard neither the police service. Everybody was just naturally putting up their money. We even hire a private helicopter to fly around.”
He said the system failed the men. Thanking God for bringing them home Charles’ sister Kerdasher Charles said they had a lot of sleepless nights but they never gave up hope.
“Everyone was just praying that they will come home.”
The men were treated for dehydration at the health facility and then released.