World“It was very hard”: Colombian Juan Montoya, survivor of...

“It was very hard”: Colombian Juan Montoya, survivor of the shipwreck off Florida

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Colombian Juan Esteban Montoya Caicedo, the only survivor of the shipwreck of a boat with 40 people off the coast of Florida (USA), confessed that “it was very hard” to survive three days adrift, without food or drink.

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“Thank God everything went well and I am already in good health”, said the young man, 22, in an interview he offered to the Hispanic network Telemundo broadcast this Monday and in which he pointed out that the recovery in the hospital to which he was transferred after being rescued by the US Coast Guard was “a bit slow.”

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The young man, who lost his 18-year-old sister in the shipwreck that occurred more than a week ago, offered these statements after reuniting with his mother after being discharged from hospital.

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“It was very exciting to see my mom again after so long. It was something that I wanted a long time ago, and something that my sister also wanted and, unfortunately, she could not be there,” said the Colombian, who was discovered by the coastguard on the overturned boat.

His lawyer, Naimeh Salem, told the media that Juan Esteban saw how others were dying around him, including his sister, “until he was left alone.” “That’s why he’s so traumatized, he doesn’t understand how he was the only survivor,” Salem added.

The woman pointed out that they are going to start working to ensure that the young man obtains immigration status and expressed her satisfaction that, once discharged, the immigration authorities have not detained him with a view to his deportation.

“He is my miracle of life, for me he is a champion, for everything he overcame in that tragedy full of strength full of courage,” his mother, Marcia Montoya, told the media during the reunion.

The young man, a native of Guacarí (Colombia), was one of the occupants of a 25-foot (7.6-meter) long boat that capsized after setting sail on Saturday from Bimini, one of the islands of the Bahamas archipelago.

A person in an overturned boat off the inlet of Fort Pierce, Florida, USA. (Photo: File /EFE/EPA/US COAST GUARD). (US COAST GUARD HANDOUT/)

According to the survivor’s testimony, the boat that sank on Sunday about 40 miles (64 km) east of Fort Pierce Cove, about 200 kilometers by land from Miami, had 40 people, none of them wearing life jackets. .

Juan Esteban was rescued on Tuesday by the captain of a ship who spotted him drifting above the boat and reported what had happened to the Coast Guard, after which the agency deployed a search and rescue operation by air and sea.

The Coast Guard covered between Tuesday morning and Thursday night, when they suspended the search, an area of ​​more than 10,500 square miles (more than 27,000 square kilometers), in which they could only rescue five bodies.

“Unfortunately, we have reached the most difficult time in any search and rescue case and that is the point where we decide when to stop actively searching,” Capt. Jo-Ann Burdian, commander of the Guard’s Sector Miami, said in a statement. Coastal.

“After careful consideration of all available information, including weather conditions, the number of people who went into the water without life jackets, the time elapsed since the date of the accident, and a relentless search of an area larger than Massachusetts, it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to call off the search,” he added.

The investigation to determine if there was a crime of human trafficking in this case continues, according to Anthony Salsibury, special agent of the Department of Homeland Security in charge of the file.

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Source: Elcomercio

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