Guam – Guam Fire Spokesman Joey San Nicolas said the search is continuing for 2 net fishermen who were swept into the water off First Beach Saturday night, but no sign of them has been found after nearly 48 hours.
However, GFD’s San Nicolas said the search continues and it is still characterized as a Search and Rescue operation.
The waiting goes on down at First Beach too where family and friends continue their vigil, praying and hoping.
4 of their loved ones went out on the reef Saturday night. Heavy surf swept them off.
The National Weather Service had a High Surf Advisory in effect last week, but that was for North and West facing reefs, and it was called off at 10am Friday morning. Still, the surf on Guam’s windward east coast remains notoriously dangerous, even when no High Surf Advisory is in effect.
The 2 Torres brothers made it safely back to shore Saturday night. But 25 year old Joseph Castro and 25 year old Evan Paulino are still in the water.
Steven Torres was the first back on shore after the knockdown.
His 18 year old brother Felix struggled in the water for an hour before getting back on land, with the help of rescue personnel.
“I’m surprised I ever made it back alive,” said Torres. “I managed to make it in, through the waves, got a little scratched up. It’s nothing”
Torres said they were on the reef, setting a net, and the surf was rough. “It came to the point where my cousin asked me if we wanted to stop, we were almost done setting the net. I told him ‘No, we’re almost done. We’ll try it one more time.’ “
“I guess it was just my pride,” said Torres. “But I wanted to see if we’d catch anything.” But then, before they could get the net set, Torres said one of their number panicked. “All of a sudden one of our guys just panicked. And as soon as he panicked, everything just went wrong.”
Torres said he survived by remembering what one of his uncle’s told him. “My uncle always told me, never panic, and never fight against the current.”
Of the 2 missing, Torres said “One was my cousin, and one was a friend of mine.” Their identities have not been officially released yet.
“I hope and pray that we can recovery the bodies today,” said Mayor Taitague, “so that we can close this incident out.”