By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Royal Bahamas Defence Force has assisted in the rescue of 13 persons who were stranded at sea aboard a "disabled vessel" after it experienced mechanical problems between Friday and Saturday.
The passengers--five Bahamian men and eight Canadians - left Cabbage Beach in a 25-foot Boston Whaler around 1.30pm on Friday heading for Big Major Cay, aka "Pig Beach," in Exuma.
They did not reach their destination as planned, however, prompting a concerned relative to notify police and RBDF authorities early Saturday morning.
The RBDF subsequently deployed its seagoing patrol craft along with one of its aircraft to assist in searching for the "overdue" vessel.
On Saturday afternoon, a local fisherman spotted the vessel and took the passengers aboard his craft before subsequently informing the RBDF.
RBDF patrol craft P-129 later met the fishing vessel, took the 13 passengers off, and subsequently escorted the distressed vessel to the RBDF's Harbour Unit.
All 13 people were found to be safe and in fair health, RBDF officials said. They were handed over to police and Port Department officials for further investigation.
"The Royal Bahamas Defence Force takes pride in safeguarding the sovereignty and heritage of the country," the RBDF said in a statement.