SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews suspended the search for possible persons in the water Friday afternoon, following the capsizing of a makeshift boat, approximately 75 yards off Shacks Beach in Isabela, Puerto Rico.
“We suspended the search pending further developments after Coast Guard aircrews saturated the area and found no signs of people or survivors in the water,” said Capt. Gregory H. Magee, Commander of US Coast Guard San Juan.
Coast Guard watchstanders in San Juan received a 911 call at 12:58 a.m. Friday, reporting people in the water from a possible overturned vessel that was taking part in an illegal voyage smuggling people to the island, and that multiple persons were observed running inland from the water. Watchstanders directed the launch of an Air Station Borinquen MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Borinquen to search for any additional survivors.
US Border Patrol authorities reported apprehending 18 persons from this illegal voyage, their nationalities are being determined.
Initial statements received from the survivors state there were 27 persons aboard the vessel before it capsized. Border Patrol authorities continue to work to determine how many people were actually on the vessel.