Body found off Moruga ‘probably’ missing fisherman

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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After an unidentified body was found at sea in Moruga on Wednesday, the families of three missing fishermen were trying to find out if the body belonged to one of them.

Relatives said the head, hands, and legs were missing.

Head of the NGO Hunters Search and Rescue Team Vallence Rambharat believed there was a “high probability” the body might be one of the men. He was not at the scene in Moruga on Wednesday but had been liaising with the men’s relatives.

Relatives of Rishi Khemchan, one of the four who went missing during a fishing trip, have said again a body recently found in Venezuela was his. An autopsy was set to be done there.

The Hunters Search and Rescue Team and the Coast Guard and Air Guard have been searching for the men by air, land, and sea. Mayaro MP Rushton Paray is also working with government officials and the Venezuelan authorities to help find and return the men, dead or alive.

The missing men are Khemchan, 38, and boat owner Heeralal “Lenus” Cooblal, 54, both of Grand Lagoon, Mayaro, together with Andy “Tallman” George, 40, and the boat’s captain, George “Criminal George” Jotis, both of Guayaguayare.

The four left the Guayaguayare Fishing depot in a boat at around 2 pm on January 31 and were expected to return a few days later.

Instead, on February 5, the boat was found, with its engine, at sea off Cedros. The men were nowhere in sight.

On Saturday, a body was found in a mangrove at the edge of Isla Cocuina in the Delta Amacuro State, Venezuela, near the Columbus Channel in Icacos.

The body must be identified before it is handed over to relatives.

Owing to the clothes as well as the cell phone found in a pocket, his relatives believe the body is Khemchan’s.

On Wednesday, his sister Kavita Khemchan said: “That was the same clothes he was wearing when he left. Also, the structure of his shoulder was just built like my other brother’s. I am 100 per cent sure that is him.

“We are still arranging with the Coast Guard for a relative to visit Venezuela.”She said on Wednesday the family heard an autopsy was being planned, but had no further details.

“The family hopes it does not take much longer to get the body to Trinidad. We feel the trip would be risky, with all we hear about Venezuela.

“All we want is the body back home.”

It was a fisherman from Grand Chemin, Moruga, first spotted a badly decomposed body at sea off Moruga at mid-morning on Tuesday and contacted a relative of one of the missing men.

He also gave them the co-ordinates saying it was about six miles offshore shore.

The NGO Hunters Search and Rescue Team was contacted and in turn alerted the authorities.

At around 8 am on Wednesday, the body was spotted again and later brought ashore.

Sgt Toussaint and other Moruga police are investigating.

The body remained unidentified up to Wednesday afternoon.