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Sarteneja Trio Lost At Sea

A search and rescue mission is on for three fishermen who have been reported missing at sea since Tuesday, April 24th.

Brothers Teobaldo Tepaz, 56; Silverio Cruz Tepaz, 49, and their nephew, Mijari Tepaz, 24, left Sarteneja on a fishing trip on April 11, with plans to arrive in Belize City on Saturday, April 21.

According to Teobaldo’s wife, the men were to return home by Sunday April 22.

The last time anyone heard from any of them was at 7:00 a.m. Saturday, April 21, when Teobaldo told his family by phone that they would leave the fishing grounds sometime after midday to arrive in Belize City that evening.

Silverio’s wife, Joaquina, planned to drive to Belize City with her children on Saturday to meet her husband and drive him back to Sarteneja. But  she did not hear from Silverio who did not answer her repeated phone calls over the next three days, so she knew something was wrong.

Family members chartered a plane to search for the men, and they found their boat just north of the windward side of Glovers Reef at 3:37 p.m., submerged in 10 feet of water.

Coast Guard Master Chief Ariel Garrido noted that the boat had three holes in the keel, possibly due to reef damage.

Divers investigating the case reported that topside items such as the dories, fuel drums, and icebox were missing. The engine, a 40-horsepower Yamaha, was also missing.

However, items inside the boat, such as documents, sleeping gear, clothes, and rations of food, were intact. The boat’s radio was also not found.

Later, a bucket was found in the sea at the southwest tip of Glover’s Reef. It contained parts of spear guns, and a pack of bread.

The search team ascertained that the bucket came from the boat, because the phone number written on the bucket’s lid, which they called, belonged to the captain’s niece.

The Coast Guard conducted an all-day search on Wednesday, April 25.

They also searched Glover’s Reef on Thursday, April 26, and found the men’s icebox on the Reef’s eastern side. It contained 150 pounds of rotting conch.

The search team vowed to continue the search, and a BDF aircraft Defender has also joined the search along the reef.

Police reported that Silverio Tepaz left home in a “white with black and yellow striped fishing boat, with  markings “Lucerito”.

The boat, which measured approximately 22 feet in length, had docked at Mango Creek.

Silverio Tepaz is of fair complexion, of medium build, about 5 feet 6 inches in height, with short black hair, and a scar near the right eye.

Mijari Tepaz is of fair complexion, of medium build, about 5 feet 4 inches in height, with short black hair and a round face.

Teobaldo Tepaz is of fair complexion, of slim build. He is about 5 feet 4 inches tall, and has short black hair.

Anyone who knows anything about these three men is asked to contact the nearest Police Station.


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