Written by By Staff Writer
Five men were rescued after they were thrown into the sea by the tail of a passing barge off the coast of Bolivia, divers have said.
They were reportedly caught by a narco-submarine, a roving drug-smuggling boat, according to Bolivian marine officials.
The divers, who had been working on the Nautical Ferries patrol vessel, saw three men being tossed into the sea, but said they had been able to pull the fourth man back onto the boat and into dry land.
They then rescued the two men who had already been washed away by the barge’s aft hull.
“The attack lasted over two minutes,” said Marco Polo Pascual, the BVFM radio station’s head of news, in an interview with the BBC.
“At this time (the patrol boat) was barely 150 meters (yards) from the barge, but there is little fish or a buffer zone to allow the vessel to pass safely.”
Photographs of the incident in question were taken by both divers and the Bolivian military.
Narcotics experts have suggested that the narco-sub is a threat to both aviation and fishing operations in the region.
US Rear Admiral William Merritt told CNN in March 2017: “The narco-submarine is here. It is very likely that it operates off the western coast of Latin America, and it could be in Central America as well… That it exists is a big deal.”