Survivors of a boat that capsized en route to Saint Lucia from Martinique recounted their ordeal in which one woman passenger went missing at sea, to the French online publication Martinique 1 Ere.
The boat, with ample life jackets, had nine people on board.
The survivors told their story as Saint Lucia police announced the discovery of a ‘badly decomposed’ woman’s body at sea off Pigeon Island on Monday.
Officials believe the woman is Andrea, the missing passenger.
According to the police, a vessel found the body about six nautical miles off Pigeon Island.
The discovery came amid a massive air and sea search and rescue effort after the boat with nine people capsized on Friday.
Emergency responders rescued eight people.
But they failed to locate the ninth passenger.
According to Martinique 1 Ere, the eight people that the emergency responders rescued spent twenty-four hours in the water.
The friends and cousins from La Croix Maingot near Marigot Bay left Rodney Bay on May 8th for Martinique after satisfying the administrative sea travel requirements.
They said it was a regular shopping trip for them.
But while returning on Friday after clearance from authorities in Martinique, seven nautical miles off the coast of Saint Lucia, three successive rogue waves hit the boat, filling it with water and shutting down the engine.
The Captain hoisted an emergency sail, but the wind destroyed it.
As the group threw the stuff they purchased overboard to lighten the boat, a fourth rouge wave overturned the vessel, throwing everyone into the water, and the flares that were aboard disappeared into the sea.
The water also carried Andrea away.
According to Martinique 1 Ere, the Captain pulled a rope along the overturned boat’s hull and told everyone to hold on.
On Saturday at about 9:00 am, two individuals identified as 48-year-old fisherman Kenny and Raj, the Captain’s fifteen-year-old son, eventually swam for four hours to get help.
A French sailboat picked them up and raised the alarm.
After emergency responders rescued the others, all the survivors underwent medical treatment between Saturday and Sunday in Martinique.
They were due back in Saint Lucia on Monday night via a Saint Lucia Marine Police vessel.
Headline photo: From left to right: Alison Joseph, the consul of Saint Lucia in the Antilles-Guyana, Juanita, the captain, Blaize and Kenny, 4 of the 8 survivors of the sinking of May 12, 2023.