Fishers fear worst as weather system lashes island with brothers missing at sea for six days
As dark clouds blanketed The New Causeway Fishing Village in St Catherine, the fisherfolk gazed into the distance with great concern. With each crashing wave, hope further dwindled for a safe return of two colleagues – brothers Carl and Alphanso...
As dark clouds blanketed The New Causeway Fishing Village in St Catherine, the fisherfolk gazed into the distance with great concern. With each crashing wave, hope further dwindled for a safe return of two colleagues – brothers Carl and Alphanso Henry – who have been missing since Monday.
The fisherfolk, who live and work in the area, told The Gleaner that the duo would normally set sail on Sundays and return on Mondays. However, after venturing out last weekend, there was still no sign of them up to Friday even as a potential tropical cyclone neared the island.
Heeding warnings to not venture out in the poor weather conditions after the island was placed under tropical storm watch on Thursday, they chose to stay in their shops and under their sheds.
Speculation was rife that the Henry brothers left shore with approximately $400,000 in cash after hosting an event on the weekend. One fisherman believed they were attacked and killed at sea for the cash.
And with a group of fishermen reportedly seeing two life jackets floating some days ago, which they assume belonged to the brothers, they have been fearing the worst for some time.
A Toyota Noah bus, which both brothers travelled in to the Causeway Fishing Village on Sunday, remained parked and locked up in the storm on Friday, along with all the boats on the shore of The New Causeway Fishing Village.
They told The Gleaner that on Thursday, a number of search parties, inclusive of the Coast Guard, went in search of the Henrys up to Thursday without any success.
As the rains pelted the fishing village, Sophia Stewart, a fish vendor, expressed hope, when she said, “Dem don’t return as yet.”
She was one of the last persons the two missing men spoke to, given that they bought fishing bait from her.
“We assume seh dem capsized. Normally, dem would come in, like, on Monday. Today a Friday, and we don’t hear anything from them, so we assume seh dem drown or capsized out there because the weather was bad,” Stewart told The Gleaner.
‘Two good smaddi’
Fisherman Fancy Thomas, who knew the brothers well, was heartbroken and on the verge of crying while recalling his friendship with the duo, who they affectionately called ‘Bat’ and ‘Fanso’.
While standing beside the minivan they left behind, he said, “From di man dem see di weather, dem nuh fi force it. Mi can’t seh nothing bad ‘bout Bat and Fanso. All now mi nuh know weh fi seh! A six days now! A two good smaddi dem. Mi can’t seh dem dead, but which part di man dem seh dem see dem [last], all Coast Guard go out deh ... and dem no see dem,” Thomas said.
“One a di fisherman dem seh dem see dem Monday morning when dem tek up and a come and a seh, ‘Yuh no see how di weather hard?’ and dem a seh dem no ready yet,” he continued.
“So all ina my mind now, mi a seh when dem tek up and a come, two sea (waves) fold over pan dem. Fi dem boat a nuh like the 28-foot weh we have ya now, when you know seh sea roll over, and when you a look, you look over in a one deep hole ... . A one sporty boat dem have. A nuh one fisherman boat,” he said.
At 2 p.m. on Friday, the Meteorological Service of Jamaica discontinued the tropical storm watch as the poorly organised weather system moved away from the island.