ST JOHN’S, Antigua – “We want to thank everyone, all the people who participated in the search and rescue, all the people who were praying for us.”
Those words of heartfelt thanks came from the party of four rescued after 19 hours missing at sea when their fishing boat overturned near Bird Island on November 25.
Charbel “Charlie” Eid, his family friend George Ghanem, and Ghanem’s sons Mark, 4, and Michael Ghanem, 7, were hospitalised after their emotional rescue on the morning of November 26.
“We thank God first for keeping us safe and alive. Then we want to thank the government of Antigua & Barbuda and all the other countries that helped in the search,” Eid said in an interview with OBSERVER Media yesterday.
He also expressed gratitude to the owners and operators of the helicopters, aircraft and boats from Antigua, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Barbados and Martinique among other countries and the Regional Security System (RSS) for joining in the search.
Additionally, the family expressed gratitude to emergency services, Antigua & Barbuda Coast Guard, Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Shell Beach Marina and all the friends and well-wishers who assisted in any way during and after the ordeal.
“I feel like I have a bigger family now than ever before and when I see people they seem even happier and more excited than we are. They hug us, some people cried and we feel so blessed and happy for their support and wishes,” Eid said on behalf of his family and friend Ghanem.
The Ghanem boys were only released from hospital Monday but their father was sent home last Friday. Eid was discharged from hospital two days after the rescue.
All four had suffered hyperthermia, dehydration, and sunburn about the body, particularly the face.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)