Shot in the abdomen by pirates who plundered his boat, fisherman Albert Mendoza was set adrift two miles out at sea in the dead of night, with a deaf 85-year-old man his only companion.
It was a nightmarish situation for Mendoza, whose father was killed and thrown overboard by pirates ten years ago in the same fishing grounds off Palo Seco, Pt Erin. His body was never found.
This time, Mendoza was able to save himself and his friend, Rupert Charles.
He had a cellphone. He made a call that began a search by villagers that led to their rescue around midnight on Wednesday.
Without the phone, there would have been no search until noon yesterday, when they were due back to Erin port.
Mendoza underwent surgery yesterday at the San Fernando General Hospital to remove the bullet that passed through his abdomen and lodged in his left thigh.
The pirates took his boat's $60,000 engine and net.
But he was lucky. Three weeks ago, pirates sneaking over from Venezuela shot and killed Cedros fisherman Michael Sherwood. In the past three years, five fishermen have been killed in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Paria.