September 23, 2020

HOME AT LAST!

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Travis Welcome (left) is hugged by his wife, Janice while Chad Ebanks is greeted by his mother, Dayton Connor.

The rescued boat crew has finally arrived home.

After nine days lost at sea followed by a dramatic rescue by a passing oil tanker – and then caught up in US immigration red tape – Travis Welcome and his crew are back in Cayman.

And what a welcome they got.

Friends and family of the six men feared dead waited patiently at Owen Roberts International Airport for United Airways flight number 2332 to land from Charlotte.

When it did, cheers could be heard all across George Town.

Last month Mr Welcome, his son Elvis, brother-in-law Ernest Rankin, crewman Chad Ebanks and Hondurans Michael Garcia and Ted Woods set sail on a routine trip.

Five hours into their journey and disaster struck when their 37-foot vessel began to sink.

Back home in East End their families prayed for a miracle. After nine days adrift their prayers were answered.

A passing oil tanker, the CPO Sweden, spotted their life raft and pulled the crew to safety.

Last week they touched down on the tarmac and their close family were there to greet them.

Mr Welcome said: “It is such a good feeling to be back home. At times we never thought we would make it.”

Laticia and DeAndre Welcome have been given the best birthday presents ever – their family back together!

Dad Travis and older brother Elvis touched down in Cayman last week after cheating death onboard the stricken vessel Miss Janice.

And as Laticia celebrated her 20th birthday and DeAndre turns five this week, never in their wildest dreams did they expect their father to be with them.

After waking up in his home and on dry land, Mr Welcome said: “It is so good to be back home.

“It was my daughter’s birthday last week and in a few days it’ll be my son’s, six days after will be my little boy, DeAndre’s birthday.”

And next week marks a triple celebration for Travis and Janice Welcome who mark their 21st wedding anniversary.

Mr. Welcome struggled to equate anything in his life to the horror of being stranded at sea.

“I don’t know anything that could compare to that experience that was so different.

The guys were breaking down and sometimes they would cry, just anxiously wishing for a drink of water.”

According to a survivor of a fishing vessel his dreams almost went under with the submerged investment. His first time in charge of the vessel on a trip to Honduras, was almost his last.

“Many years ago it was my dream to have a boat like that. I tried getting one before but it never worked.

“The first two trips without me were broken trips, the third one was just enough to pay the crew, and there was no profit.”

Travis Welcome, the eldest of the group of six fishermen that were adrift on the seas for Nine days have finally been reunited with his family. He, along with the other five fishermen, was returned to the Island on Thursday evening.

Not only is he overjoyed at being alive after the traumatic experience; his return coincides with his daughter Laticia’s birthday.

Speaking to iNews from his home in East End, the elated fisherman was eager to absorb the embrace of his youngest son, De Andre’ who was there during the interview.

According to Travis, the ordeal has left him seriously concerned about further quests on the sea, as he and his crew had the scariest experience they never even imagined.

“I wouldn’t want to go out there again like that, but somebody’s got to do this job,” he said.

Mr. Welcome is now relaxing at home catching up with time lost with his family.

The other members of the lucky crew are also trying to come to grips with the emotional effects of the ordeal.

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