Looking for People and Answers
Account from Utila Search & Rescue FaceBook page: "A bunch of happy young people, not a care in the world thinking no big deal just going 27 miles to the next island for a few hours. They rented a speed boat, had no life safety gear (life vests, FLAIRS, etc) no food, no water, no GPS, no VHF radio and not enough fuel. Even in a small vessel around these islands there should always be these items. With a flair and a VHF they would have waited 30 minutes for rescue instead of 4 1/2 days. Also, this boat was not registered and the process of getting the appropriate paperwork and checking in and out with the Port Captains on Utila and Roatan was not completed. This helps when tracking missing boats and creating timeline of events."
"The actual events per the survivors was that they went over to Roatan for a few hours to see the island. They left approximately 11Am on Saturday morning. They arrived in Half Moon Bay and hung out on the beach and visited some places in West End. They set out back for Utila approximately 3PM that same Saturday afternoon. At one point they did get stuck on the reef. This did not damage the boat. After being at sea for a while about 5 miles from Utila the boat ran out of fuel. It was then that they began to drift with the current. One phone call from Gary made it through to the 711 store on Utila where they heard him say I can see a light. It was a broken conversation and they lost signal after that. Those of us looking for them did not know exactly when they left Roatan for Utila. Our discovery from asking questions on the island was a much later departure between 10PM and 3Am Sunday morning. In fact, they had been drifting for almost 24 hours before we began the full blown search. This caused confusion as to where they might be from a drift stand point. Much of this is because none of their family or friends knew the exact details of the excursion."