Costly sacrifice

By: Editorial October 31,2015 - 01:37 AM



After having spent a good chunk of his 48 years on this planet working as a seaman, Rudyard Payusan lost  his right foot while trying to save passengers of a motorbanca that were left adrift at sea last October 17.  This was no less a tragedy than if he had lost his own life.

As chief mate of the cargo ship LCT Golden Crescent, Payusan was the nearest available person at the accident site.  It was a testament to his courage that he immediately dived in to attach a lifeline to the capsized motorbanca and rescue passengers  who had been floating overnight.

A freak accident cost Payusan his right foot. He too became a  victim  of the accident that could have been avoided were it not for the ill-advised decision of the motorbanca crew to proceed with the night-time trip amid warnings of rough weather.

It would have been easy for  maritime authorities to chuck off Payusan’s loss of a limb  as  one of the risks of his job. But the heroic deed won’t go unnoticed by both traditional and social media, or the passengers whose lives he tried to save.

The Philippine Coast Guard visited him at the hospital and awarded him  a plaque with a commitment from orthopedic surgeon Dr. Felix Vicuña to provide  him a prosthetic limb as well as free therapy sessions.

“It is only with a man like Rudyard that we will see the true bravery of Filipinos which is why we, at the PCG, felt it was right to honor him,” Commodore Enrico Evangelista of the Philippine Coast Guard-Central Visayas said.

Indeed it is.

The gift of a prosthetic foot, along with the cash assistance, is wecome news for Payusan and his family, who are anxious about his future source of income and his disability.

Payusan’s story reminds one of American actor Cuba Gooding’s character Carl Brashear in the 2000 biographical film “Men of Honor.”

Brashear, the first African American master diver in the US Navy, lost his left leg due to an undersea retrieval operation of an atomic bomb.

Like Brashear, Payusan knows the risks  of a rough sea rescue but still dove into the water thinking only of the  safety of the passengers.

It’s not just Payusan whose commitment and sacrifice to perform his job is worth honoring even with small tokens of appreciation.

Agencies like the Philippine Coast Guard and other maritime agencies would  do well not only to honor people like him but to ensure their protection by cracking down on unscrupulous operators, so that Payusan and others like him wouldn’t have to risk  their lives and limbs to  save  victims at sea.

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TAGS: LCT Golden Crescent, motor banca, Philippine Coast Guard-Central Visayas, Rudyward Parusan, seaman

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