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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Miracle on the Gulf: Fishermen home safe after caught in storm

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Rescuers found six missing fishermen safe and sound, two days after being unaccounted for since Thursday’s storm. Photo: Yucatán a la Mano

Progreso, Yucatán — The fishermen feared lost at sea have been rescued, regional port captain Bernardo Crespo Silva reported today.

The six fishermen — earlier, reports had estimated four — were far from the coastline when Thursday afternoon’s surprise squall hit.

The squall produced winds reaching 90 kph/55 mph and gusts of 100 kph/62 mph. Property damage was fairly widespread, mostly fallen trees, but news of the missing fishermen was the most alarming.

Navy rescuers from the IX Zone found the six men in the waters of Celestún. Their boats were upright, which Crespo Silva noted was fortunate given the high seas.

Waves battered the coast for hours, even covering Progreso’s malecon as the tide rose.

The Yucalpetén harbor was not so snug during the storm. Several unmanned boats collided and were dragged out to sea, while others were damaged on their moorings.

A tourist captured this image of Progreso’s Shark Restaurant palapa before it was destroyed in Thursday’s sudden storm. Photo: TripAdvisor

Millions of pesos in damage have been estimated, including the loss of mango and cucumber crops, among many others. The fall citrus harvest will be affected as well, since trees were flowering when wind, rain and hail struck.

Fisherman stand to lose work as well, since many of their boats won’t be seaworthy even as the storm has passed.

Restaurant owners in Progreso’s tourist zone also have a cleanup bill to pay. The Shark’s massive beach-bar palapa was one of several destroyed. It will cost about $100,000 MXN to replace, estimates owner Jorge Gutierrez Yerbes.

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