SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard and partner agency air and surface assets continue searching Friday for possible survivors of a capsized vessel in the Mona Passage, approximately 10 nautical miles north of Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico.
Rescued are 38 survivors, 36 Haitian and two Dominican Republic nationals, of which eight remain hospitalized. Rescue crews also recovered 11 people deceased, whose nationalities are yet to be determined.
“The effort, coordination, and teamwork displayed by all responding units has been truly humbling,” said Lt. Cmdr. Caleb Peacock, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen assistant operations officer and one of the MH-60T Jayhawk pilots for this case. “It serves as a great reminder of how sacred life is and how it takes a team to accomplish the mission of saving those in distress. Outstanding work from all who have, are and will be searching for and rescuing those in need.”
Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a communication at approximately 11:47 a.m. Thursday reporting that the aircrew of a Custom and Border Protection aircraft had sighted a capsized vessel with people in the water who did not appear to be wearing life jackets.
Coast Guard watchstanders directed the launch of an MH-60T helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos to rescue possible survivors. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine units also responded.
Rescue assets involved in the search:
- Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley
- Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos
- An HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
- Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters
- Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations assets
- Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine units