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Friend talks about last moments with crab hunter

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One man is dead after going crab hunting overnight. A family-friend has identified that hunter as Gerard Cabana. Police say Cabana lost his way in the jungle area. Rescue teams were able to find him, but he didn't survive. KUAM News spoke with Cabana's friend who was with him during his final moments.

"I feel really bad," Frank Mendiola said. "I don't know there is so much going through my head and I just feel so bad losing a good friend."

It was a late night, last minute crabbing venture in Pagat gone wrong. Mendiola said, "He wanted to go crab hunting and I told him ok I'll go with you. Because he doesn't like to go in there by himself."

Mendiola was with his longtime friend, Cabana, around 10 o'clock Monday night. The pair trekking through the jungles in Mangilao.

"We were in there and just got kind of lost. We were supposed to be back there for about an hour but when my watch went off it went off at 12am and that's when I noticed we were back there too long already," he said.

Frank says they got their catch and on their way back up he says his friend grew exhausted and needed water. So, Frank went ahead and got the water, but when he returned his friend was nowhere to be found.

"There's no response. I kept calling his name and no response so that's when I came back out and asked my father to call 911 and call the rescue team to see if they can come help me find him," he recalled.

Emergency responders spent the early morning hours looking for Gerard. But, by the time they got to him...it was already too late.

Mayor Al Ungacta said, "I really extend my condolences to the family for their loss and I'm saddened to hear that it happened here in Mangilao."  The mayor is familiar with the potential dangers anyone could face when doing outdoor activities in this part of his village, adding, "There's been incidents in the past and I strongly urge a lot of necessary precautions."

A word of caution that Frank says he now takes seriously. He offers this advice to others so that what happened to his friend doesn't happen to anyone else. "If you are going out there always have maybe three of you that way if anything happens one can stay with the injured and the other can go find help - try not to go out with just two guys and make sure you have a lot of water. Try to mark the jungle as best you can," he said.

Meantime, Frank's heart weighs heavy after losing his friend who he considers to be family. "He's more like a brother to me. We were very tight," he said. "I just want to tell the family I'm sorry that things turned out the way it did."

Cabana's autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Now, if his name sounds familiar, KUAM news files show Cabana was the alcohol beverage control officer arrested back in 2009 accused of trying to extort money from a Tumon karaoke club. He was also fired from the airport in 2005 for stealing money in an apparent airport parking lot scam. But, a jury found him not guilty in that case.

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