U.S. Coast Guard Looks for Survivors After Migrant Boat Runs Aground
The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for about 10 missing migrants who went into the water after their boat hit the rocks near Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
On Wednesday afternoon at about 1530 hours, Coast Guard watchstanders received a VHF call from the fishing vessel Jerimar, which reported the sighting of a possible migrant vessel about two nautical miles to the north of Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
Sector San Juan called for the launch of a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Dauntless to search.
Shortly thereafter, the helicopter aircrew spotted the migrant vessel, which was disabled and adrift, and vectored-in the Dauntless to its position. The crew of the Dauntless safely embarked 10 migrants from the disabled vessel, including one man and nine women. Once aboard, all received food, water and basic medical attention.
The migrants – who showed signs of cold and exhaustion – told the Coast Guard that their vessel lost power after striking rocks near Mona Island. Following the grounding, eight of the migrants and the smuggler who organized the trip reportedly jumped from the vessel and tried to swim to shore. The survivors also reported that two other migrants – who were wearing heavy clothes – fell overboard from the vessel and could not swim.
Coast Guard crews are working with local authorities and the U.S. Border Patrol to investigate if any of the migrants from this case safely reached shore on Mona or Monito Islands. In addition, multiple assets are engaged in a search for survivors in the water. The cutters Dauntless and Joseph Doyle and multiple helicopters out of Air Station Borinquen are deployed for the search. As of Friday, no additional survivors have been found.