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Angry Dad still awaiting word from Coast Guard
Up to yesterday, the father of two daughters who were stranded for 45 minutes in choppy waters off Fantasy Island says he is yet to receive an explanation from the T&T Coast Guard for failing to rescue his “girls” who were in distress. Michael Alonzo said more than 15 calls made to the Coast Guard on Thursday to help Ashley, 24, her 21-year-old sister Angelie Alonzo and her boyfriend off the western peninsula were not heeded.
Ashley and Angelie are both former national swimmers. The trio of North Westmoorings were heading from Fantasy Island to Power Boats around 11 am when their boat Eclipse, stalled off Gaspar Grande. After notifying her dad, Ashley said she called the Coast Guard informing them of her emergency.
“Within minutes, the boat started to drift so we had to hold on to a tree branch to keep the vessel from moving. But the waves were so powerful, it was slamming us against the rocks.” Thinking by then the Coast Guard would have responded, Ashley said she called them again, only to be told that they were preparing a vessel to come to her rescue.
As the waves vigorously rocked the boat, Ashley said Angelie jumped into the water to push the boat, but she had to give up. When that failed, they found a piece of bamboo in the water and tried to paddle the boat away from the rocks. “But nothing was helping us.”
Sensing panic in his daughters’ voices, Michael called a boatman named Spider to assist the trio. “All this time we were still waiting on the Coast Guard. This was close to 45 minutes after and 15 distress calls made and no one came to our assistance. All they kept saying was that they understand the situation.”
At one point, the Coast Guard, Michael said, stopped taking his calls. Eventually they were rescued by Spider. Ashley said their lives were in danger and could have been lost. “All it could have taken was a little bit of wind and a good wave to slam us into the rocks.”
To this day, Michael said he has received no response from the Coast Guard as to why they failed to respond and called for answers. Efforts to reach Kirk Jean-Baptiste, public relations officer of the Coast Guard yesterday proved futile.
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