STANDING TALL - cwferguson
It was shortly after in Cabo San Lucas. A full moon rode high and proud over the
Cabernet on the deck of their 42-foot Bertram; admiring the cloudless sky and the quietude of the cool, January night. They waved joyfully at a young couple strolling hand in hand down themoon drenched beach, but the couple, caught up in the romance of the moment, never noticed them.
The explosion was stunning. The Donnavans spun toward the noise and saw a shimmering glow fifty yards down the anchorage.
They reached the gunnel just as the second explosion rocked the harbor. Before anyone could ascertain the exact location of the disaster, the bay was illuminated by frenzied shadows dancing grotesquely through multicolored lights; fire.
Emergency channel 16 crackled, "Jesus Christ, a god-damned boat just blew up out here. Get us a Doctor! Do ya read me?. Oh, my God. Doesn't somebody out there read me?"
Tom Sample wasn't quite ready to go to bed and stepped outside to have a cigarette on the beach. He glanced up at the star studded sky and then looked admiringly toward the 64-foot Hattaras that had just checked in from
the ANTICIPATION, the whole damned boat just exploded."
Chris, Jim, and George, young adults from
Chris maneuvered the ponga next to
Ignoring the blistering inferno, Chris motored toward the ANTICIPATION; looking for survivors. A rubber raft floated by with a guy crumpled up inside, clutching a line. George cried out, "Chris! Over there!" Two bodies were floating in the water; one, face down. Chris eased next to the first victim and they hauled him into the ponga; sputtering, but alive. It took both young men to lift the second victim aboard. Jim glanced at Chris, his eyes wide with shock. "This guy's burnt pretty bad. I...I think he's gone."
There was a movement on the port side. One of the deck hands from the ANTICIPATION was attempting to swim toward the blazing vessel. Chris gunned the ponga to within fifty feet of the flaming Hattaras and cut the swimmer off. They grappled with him to get him aboard; he was in shock. "My friends. I have to get my friends. Help me get my friends." Jim threw a blanket around him, "We got 'em, buddy. Everything's O.K. We got 'em."
Jim and Gloria Davis had switched on the spot light of their 85-foot DEMONSTRATOR. "Bring them over here, boys, we've got blankets ready. The Doctor's on her way." As the four of them tenderly eased the victims on board they heard a cough. Jim's face relaxed with a smile. "He's alive. He's still got a chance."
A ponga raced toward the DEMONSTRATOR from the inner harbor. Dr. Alma Va'zquez scrambled aboard. She administered what aid she could under the circumstances and took charge. The burn victim required immediate emergency room treatment. Within 24 hours, George Pasha, owner of the ANTICIPATION, was admitted to a burn center in
Of the six marlin fishermen aboard, two died a fiery death, one would die at a
Port Captain and a U.S. Consular employee would have to deal with the charred remains of the unidentified deceased. A marine casualty representative would have to deal with the cause of the disaster and a salvage crew wouldl have to deal with the blackened hull of the fire gutted cruiser, entombed in thirty feet of water.
Christopher Norton, Jim Vidales, and George Espinoza will never forget the early morning hours of January 9th, l988. Their unselfish acts of bravery almost surly prevented the death of one man and might very well have saved the lives of two others. There were others on the scene who would have stepped into the breech:
Bob McGarty, Skipper of NO RESPECT, Kilroy and Johnson, and the