Colombian boater recovers in Honolulu after more than two months at sea

Local News

A boater who was stranded at sea for more than two months spent his first night on land Wednesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the 29-year-old man and three friends left Colombia aboard a 23-foot skiff. According to the man, the boat’s engine became disabled.

On April 26, Nikkei Verde, a Panamanian-flagged 618-foot bulk carrier, came across the skiff on its way to China, approximately 2,150 miles southeast of Hilo. Only one man was on board.

He said he caught and ate fish and seagulls to stay alive, while the other three men reportedly perished at sea. Their bodies weren’t on the boat, but the survivor surrendered their passports to officials.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon provided medical advice to the Nikkei Verde crew while a Coast Guard 45-foot response boat brought the man to Honolulu.

He was in stable condition when Emergency Medical Services met him on shore, officials said.

“This mariner had great fortitude and is very fortunate the crew of the Nikkei Verde happened upon him as the area he was in is not heavily trafficked,” said Lt. Cmdr. John MacKinnon, Joint Rescue Coordination Center chief with the Coast Guard 14th District. “The Pacific is vast and inherently dangerous and all mariners respect that. These merchant mariners did the right thing in rendering assistance and most mariners heed the obligation to render assistance at sea, found in the Safety Of Life At Sea Convention, out of a sense of duty and understanding rather than required compliance.”

The Coast Guard is working with Colombian officials to send him home.

Officials say while they assisted in the man’s rescue, they are not investigating the case as circumstances fall outside Coast Guard purview.

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