Fishing Trip turns tragic: elderly man missing

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The search for fishing enthusiast Eurel Hodge, said to be in his 70s, is expected to resume at first light this morning, more than 24 hours after his boat capsized approximately half-mile off Jabberwock Beach.
While very “optimistic of finding Hodge alive”, Lieutenant commander Elroy Skerritt, the acting Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard, told OBSERVER media that the time that has elapsed and the current sea conditions make the search and rescue an uphill task. 
Officers from the local Coast Guard, some of their colleagues from neighbouring Guadeloupe, the Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue group and private citizens conducted an extensive search for Hodge, well into Thursday afternoon, having been alerted by beach goers of “stranded” men at sea, at approximately 6.30 a.m. that same day.
Among those praying for Hodge’s safe return are Derrick Benta, Winston Lawrance and Bernard Mills who were with him on what started out as one of their “customary and relaxing” fishing trips that began at Parham Wharf at around midnight on Wednesday. The three men were rescued by Coast Guard personnel more than six hours after their harrowing experience unfolded around 2 a.m., beginning with their 18-foot boat taking in water suddenly. 
“As a result of the boat filling with water, it became unbearable and also unstable and it eventually capsized,” Skerritt explained. 
He reasoned that the choppy sea condition, which the searchers experienced on Thursday, including three-foot swells, could have contributed to the difficulty that the now-wrecked boat encountered. The current off Jabberwock was “pretty strong” making it an uphill task for anyone to swim freely in those types of conditions, according to the coast guard official.
He told OBSERVER media that officers found the men without life jackets and “clinging to the hull” of their boat.
The three were in a state of shock and suffering from cold having been in the water for an extended period of time. But based on medical checks done when they were brought to shore, they did not require further attention at Mount St. John’s Medical Centre. 
“They were in fairly good condition” Skerritt said, adding that they were back at Jabberwock later in the day during the search for Hodge.

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