It was like a bad case of Déjà vu for Christopher Bugros and his family when they heard another diver had gone missing at sea last weekend.
“When I heard the news I break down. I feeling it, I feeling the pain, I keep calling and asking for an update,” Bugros said of the latest incident in which Reinaldo Novoa, 66, of Westmoorings, disappeared off the coast of Manzanilla on Sunday and remains missing even as Coast Guard, fishermen and relatives have been searching for him.
“Actually, I don’t know the guy but I cried for the guy,” Bugros told Guardian Media yesterday.
According to Bugros, 26, Novoa went missing in the same area he did back in 2019 at Damien Rock. Bugros was lost at sea for 17 hours and had to swim 44 miles to land.
“The current was coming down, what the current do, the current take me down and about 12 o clock in the night the current decided to turn,” he said, showing the area on a map.
Bugros said the current moved him from Damien Rock to Guayaguayare, where he then drifted to Toco.
“I watching land going up here and the current take me back straight up here,” he illustrated on the map.
Bugros said he was told that the current was going in the other direction, which was heading toward Tobago, when Novoa went missing.
He told Guardian Media that the current on the East Coast, where the Atlantic Sea meets the Caribbean Sea, created some of the roughest waters he endured throughout his career but is optimistic that Novoa is alive.
“He coming back home, he could come go from here to the next end of the world, he coming back home,” he said.
Bugros said surviving the choppiness of the seawater was not an easy task but the will power to survive and his determination to see his family and friends again were what kept him going during his ordeal.
The 26-year-old said if Novoa remains strong mentally and spiritually he will survive.
“I believe he’s still alive trying to find civilization, trying to find somebody to rescue him,” Burgos said.
He urged Novoa’s family members to believe that their relative is alive and keep the faith.
His advice for divers, whether experienced or not, was to follow the number one rule and always stick with a dive buddy.
“From my past experience, do all safety measures first,” he said.
Meanwhile, his father and former diver, Anthony Bugros, called on the Government to implement better diving legislation. Bugros senior said nothing had changed more than a year after his son’s incident.
“We should have learnt a lesson from then. They have the mechanism to do it,” the senior Burgos said.
He also called for more education and qualification for divers and fishermen, as he said at the moment anyone can rent a diving tank or be a captain on a boat.
“You’re a captain, okay, you know which is the port side or who has the right away in the sea?” he asked.
“I can tell you 90 per cent or more do not know this information.”
Bugros said when his son was missing at sea, he still kept the faith and hopes the Novoa family does the same.
“No matter how it looks like if it looks like it’s going south you have to believe,” he said.