…walked some 36 hours before being rescued
By Nafeeza Yahya
AFTER walking for approximately 36 hours through knee high water, mud and dense vegetation while surviving only on coconuts and discarded bottled water or soda found along the way, twenty-three-year- old Yageshwar Mangal is finally reunited with his wife and two children, ages 4 and 2, as are his colleagues with their respective families.
Mangal, called ‘Boiyo’, of Number 2 Village, East Canje, Berbice, was among a group of four Guyanese men who were stranded in neighbouring Suriname, having left on Sunday last for a crab expedition. The others are 22-year-old Nelson De Jonge of 511 Fort Ordinance Housing Scheme, Corentyne; Anand Deoharry, 42, of Health Centre Street, Cumberland, East Canje, Berbice; and Ramdat Goonraj called ‘Azad’, 27, of Rose Hall Town,Corentyne.
Speaking with reporters at his Number 2 East Canje home Monday morning, Mangal said all he wants to do is rest for a few days and then try to find a job on land as he does not want to ever have to relive the near-death experience he had over the past few days.
According to Mangal, their journey, which was his third to Surinamese waters, started off successfully as they managed to catch over 5000 crabs in an area called Sand Edge. However, when it was time to leave, their boat became stuck after it was grounded on Sunday.
“We used a gutter (channel) to get to the place we does call Sand Edge and we catch them crabs, but the channel get block up with sand and we boat stick up, so we can’t lef on Tuesday . We try till Friday when a boat come to help we, but the boat break it engine clamp and we lef on we own cause we nursing (food) run out. So we decide fuh walk to Buckberry cause other fishermen does be there,” he related.
He said that after walking for almost a day they finally spotted a small fishing boat that came to their rescue. However, the boat developed some mechanical issues and the two-man crew aboard became stranded with the quartet at Buckberry.
Having eaten out all the food on the boat, the men decided to set up camp on land for the night near some coconut trees. However, Mangal and De Jonge did not want to sit and wait around with nothing but coconuts to eat nor drink, so they decided to continue walking towards “civilization” in Nickerie.
De Jonge told the Guyana Chronicle that the journey was ‘pressure’ and it was the hope of reuniting with their loved ones that gave them the strength to continue.
“We had to walk in the dark with no light, passing snakes and all kind a things in the bush; water up to we knee, sling mud, nothing to eat, it was bare pressure,” he said.
The duo persevered and made it to Nickerie where they were rescued by another fishing vessel. Onboard, the first thing they requested after having some water was a phone call to their loved ones to let them know they were ok and they were going to rescue the others.
The men were finally on land at around 22:00hrs on Sunday night and went back with a boat to pick up their stranded colleagues and the abandoned boat. They then set sail for Guyana, leaving behind 42-year-old Anand Deoharry who was too tired to make the journey home. At around dawn on Monday, the men arrived in Guyana to be reunited with their families.
Except for being tired and dehydrated, the men are said to be in good health.