Search for missing Guaya fishermen called off

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Heeralal Cooblal

THE search has been called off for the remaining two of four fishermen who went missing after leaving Guayaguayare in February on a fishing expedition.

Vallence Rambharat, head of the Hunters Search and Rescue NGO, confirmed this on Wednesday.

Heeralal “Lenus” Cooblal, 54, and Andy “Tallman” George, 40, both of Grand Lagoon, Mayaro, are still unaccounted for.

Andy “Tallman” George

Newsday tried to call their families, but phone calls went unanswered.

Someone who answered the phone of Heeral’s son Anil said he was not at home, and had no information on the search being called off.

Two of the four bodies have been recovered. One of them, found in a mangrove at the edge of Isla Cocuina in Delta Amacuro State, Venezuela, has been identified as that of Rishi Khemchan, 38, also of Mayaro.

The second body, which was found off the coast of Moruga, badly decomposed, is believed to be that of George Jotis.

His family is said to live abroad. But Rambharat, whose team had been part of the search, said he was able to find one of Jotis’ sisters, who lives in Sangre Grande.

He said the sister will try to identify the body, which is at the Forensic Science Centre in St James. Dental records are also being relied on to identify the body instead of the long-drawn-out DNA process.

Diplomatic exchanges are continuing between the Foreign and Caricom Affairs Ministry and Venezuelan authorities on repatriating Khemchan’s body.