One of the first boaters to lend a hand to the search and rescue effort told Cayman 27 that in an emergency on the water, every second counts.
Charles Ebanks braved 10 to 12 foot seas to look for any signs of the three men and two children lost at sea.
“Every minute counts, every minute counts, my friend, not every hour, every minute,” said Mr. Ebanks. “That ocean will eat you alive. It will gobble you up and spit you out. You have to have a lot of respect for it.”
He said knowing three men and two children, friends of his, were lost at sea, he couldn’t just stand by passively, even in rough conditions.
“I volunteered because I love the water, I’m a boats person and I donated my time, free of charge,” explained Mr. Ebanks. “I just wanted to see someone, or find, rescue them, that’s all. But it didn’t happen.”
He said he gave his best effort to find the missing boaters.
“I wouldn’t be able to sleep knowing I have a boat that I can use and didn’t go, and sat on my butt somewhere and say, boy, mmmm, maybe if I went maybe I would have found them, maybe I wouldn’t, and it’s just one of those things because you don’t know,” he said.
He said he was surprised and disappointed police didn’t play a greater role in Monday’s (7 March) rescue efforts.
“I’m not putting them down, we have some awesome police officers that do really really good jobs. I’m not putting them down, all I’m saying is I think there should have been more people on scene,” said Mr. Ebanks.
He says his heart breaks for the families and friends of the missing.
“Regardless of what Edsel or what Mullings or anyone aboard the boat did in their past, that’s someone’s child and two kids, my heart goes out to them,” said Mr. Ebanks, as he choked back tears. “I’m a captain, I’m very sorry and like I said, my condolences. But they are good people you know, like I said they are some mother’s child, some parent’s kids, and they are loved by a lot of people.”
He said he was touched by the display of love and hope from the community.
“I had a hundred people come down to the dock last night just visiting and telling me thanks, for this, that, and the next, and it just shows that regardless of who you are, there’s someone out there that loves you and somebody that respects you,” he said. “I really wish that, I really wish yesterday afternoon that when I was coming in I had five of them aboard the boat with me.”