Saturday, April 28, 2007
The Captain of a Dominican fishing boat that capsized in the Atlantic Ocean washed up bruised and dazed on a Haitian island today, and told U.S. authorities that at least six others might still be alive. Ramon Pichardo told rescuers that he and the other fisherman had been grasping onto a wooden box for four days since the boat sank Tuesday off the Dominican Republic's north coast, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Dana Warr told reporters. He was being treated for exposure, Warr said. "They want to get him to a state where he's more able to talk about what happened," he said.The 52-foot Abra Cadabra had been traveling to a fishing bank in rough seas before dawn Tuesday when it sank. Twenty had been rescued by Friday afternoon, and as many as 19 still might be alive in the Atlantic. No bodies have been found. Pichardo, 38, told U.S. authorities that after days without food and water he abandoned the box and swam for shore. He washed up on Ile de la Tortue, a former stronghold for pirates off the Haitian coast — about 75 miles west of the area where the boat sank. Once ashore, Pichardo found a phone and called his wife, who contacted the boat's owner. A U.S. Coast Guard cutter retrieved the ailing Dominican captain, Warr said. Pichardo still was aboard the cutter this afternoon as rescue crews scoured the waters for the other six men.