A heavily resourced search and rescue operation that at one stage involved hundreds of volunteers, a canine unit, and a Facebook page that was shared over 11000 times has successfully concluded. Anna Aria, crew chef on a 65-meter yacht, was found just 15 meters from her last known whereabouts on the bow of the same vessel she was reported missing from, reading a book.
“Harrowing.” Said Anna’s cabin mate Karen Chorus when asked how the lengthy, 3-minute long search felt. “Usually we see each other at least once every 20-30 seconds. When more than a minute went by without one of us saying ‘Hi’ to the other in a funny voice or accent, I knew something terrible had happened. And I was right. She was up there,” Karen paused here to compose herself and return from the brink that all minds go to when considering the abyss of time on one’s own. “She was all by herself.”
The yacht was secured to a berth in the Bahamas when the alarm was sounded a few minutes after the end of the work day. Precious seconds were lost chasing false leads such as the possibility she was going to the bathroom, was lying down, or was talking to a friend on the dock. In hindsight those ill-found guesses could have cost Anna dearly, possibly allowing her to finish the chapter she was reading or worse, look into space for awhile without having anyone interrupt her thoughts.
Thankfully the rest of the crew mustered with the organized haste only regular drills can provide. The mate sounded the international signal for ‘Crew Member Not In Immediate Vicinity Of Other Crew,’ repeatedly asking if anyone had seen Anna until everyone was very worried. The head chef procured a crate of beers to share with the missing person once found, and one of the deckhands made a list of arbitrary questions (which included: have you seen Star Wars or my red shorts?) to pepper her with to make up for the time they had been apart.
Working through the surge of adrenaline that arose at the thought of one of their own not being with at least one other of their own and preferably all of their own, the crew swung into action. All flights off the island were grounded and ferries that had recently departed were summoned back to the dock to be searched. A navy helicopter was diverted from a medivac operation, and marina security made aware that they had failed.
Two minutes into the search hope began to fade. As night fast approached and with it the possibility that Anna might have to eat dinner alone or, as unthinkable as it was, have a drink that way, the crew and volunteers had begun to comb the beaches and boardwalks when a cry went up from the bow of the yacht. A deckhand, going forward to launch the rescue tender to search the mangroves, had found the missing-and-presumed-lonely person.
Clearly disoriented and suffering from exposure, the rescuee was reported as being nearly unintelligible after her ordeal, saying she didn’t know what the fuss was about and had just been taking a few minutes for herself, and other contradictions. It is understood that following an event such as this recovery will take time. As we go to press the crew have rallied around Anna, quite literally, surrounding her in a circle of undivided and inescapable attention. Hopefully this will help her, in time, to put behind the horrible memory of a stolen moment’s peace.