Friday, June 5th, 2009

Family & Friends Fund Search for Missing Sailor


Where is Joe Dunsavage?

The coastguard and government authorities in Central America might have abandoned the search for missing American sailor Joe Dunsavage but his family and friends continue to privately fund a full on air and sea search raising the cash to do so using credit cards and by holding money raising events.

Joseph Dunsavage (49) set out for an afternoon fishing trip on May 10th leaving West End Beach Roatan in the Bay Islands off Honduras around noon piloting a rented small twin hulled boat equipped with a Mercury outboard engine and reported as being unsinkable.

It is thought that he could have encountered engine problems early in his trip with the boat drifting westwards out of control adrift.

When he failed to arrive back, friends in Roatan organised a local search using motorboats and jet skies.

The next day after he again failed to show up, or phone in, worried family and friends began to campaign to gain government support with an organised and more coordinated search effort.  Again they paid for and used boats and private planes to search waters around Roatan and Utila, another island nearby.

Two days after his initial disappearance, the Honduran and U.S. Navies began searching, committing two UH60 Blackhawk Helicopters and two Honduran Navy vessels to the campaign.

Even though Joseph has access to fresh water and recovered rain, friends fear for his safety and have begun an intensive fund raising campaign in an effort to pay for a prolonged search involving the chartering in of private helicopters and airplanes from Belize to search the reefs and islands off the coast of Belize.  Believing this to be the case, on May 14th the Belize Coast Guard also joined the search but the very next day, and just five days after Joe was last sighted all Government agencies pulled out of search.

This left the family in a quandary and several of them flew from their homes in the USA to take personal charge of their privately funded rescue operation.  Son, Joe

Dunsavage Jr. arrived in Roatan and chartered as many as five planes and two helicopters every day searching for his father spending around US$2,000 every day and yet, found nothing, not even the wreckage of a small boat.

Sophisticated high-resolution imaging systems have been used to scan the area and a professional Hydrologist created a revised current flow analysis suggesting a high probability that Joe could have made landfall near Cuyamel in Honduras or could yet be marooned on a remote beach in an uninhabited area of either Honduras or Guatemala.

So the search goes on each and every day privately funded until the money runs out and donations cease.

In the same waters that Joe disappeared and during the same period, Ernest Williams a local fisherman was rescued after he and his 4 metre fishing dory had been missing for 18 days while out fishing for conch.  The question now being asked is why was the search for him kept active for that long when the search for an American citizen was halted after just five days.

These are questions that will if not answered to the satisfaction of US citizens persuade them not to leave the security of their own shores.

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