2 remaining missing fishermen north of Puerto Rico rescued

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard, Puerto Rico Police and a Good Samaritan vessel combined efforts to rescue two fishermen who remained missing Friday morning, after their vessel, with four fishermen onboard, capsized in waters north of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico Thursday afternoon.

Rescued Friday morning were local area fishermen Anibal Jimenez and Jahel Maisonet, while Alan Ramos and Michael Rosario were rescued Thursday night after swimming for hours before they were able to communicate their distress by launching multiple flares from the water.

“We often fly searches in response to flare sightings with no results,” said Lt. Bruce Kimmel, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander.  “In this case, the distress was real and four people were in fact missing.  I’m proud of the team effort between all those involved whose professionalism enabled us to find all four men alive.”

The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter takes a group photo with Anibal Jimenez, who was rescued early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2014, after his fishing vessel, with three other fisherman onboard, capsized in waters north of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico during the afternoon of Jan. 16, 2014.  All four fishermen have been rescued, two were rescued Thursday night by a Puerto Rico Police marine unit that was vectored into their location by the Coast Guard helicopter and one other was also rescued Friday morning by a Good Samaritan vessel in the area of Cerro Gordo Beach in Vega Baja. U.S. Coast Guard Photo.

The crew of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter takes a group photo with Anibal Jimenez, who was rescued early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2014. U.S. Coast Guard Photo.

The four fishermen reportedly departed on a fishing trip Thursday morning from Cerro Gordo Beach in Vega Baja when their vessel capsized at approximately 12p.m.  All four men were reportedly wearing lifejackets when they went into the water.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a report Thursday night from Ricardo Román, a citizen in the area who reported seeing from shore a red flare out at sea.

Coast Guard Watchstanders immediately launched a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to search for a possible vessel in distress, and they alerted a Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit in the area that also responded.

Upon arriving on scene, the crew of the Coast Guard helicopter located the first fisherman after initially sighting a beam of light from a flashlight that was coming from the water.  Shortly thereafter the Coast Guard helicopter crew located a second fisherman two nautical miles south from the first fisherman’s position.  The crew of the Coast Guard helicopter vectored in the Puerto Rico Police marine unit who safely recovered both fisherman from the water.

During a first light search Friday morning, Puerto Rico Police rescue crews reported hearing sounds coming from the water in the area of Cerro Gordo Beach.  A Coast Guard helicopter was vectored-in to the location and located the two fishermen who remained missing in close proximity to each other.  The crew of the Coast Guard helicopter deployed their rescue swimmer and hoisted one of the fishermen onboard, while a Good Samaritan vessel in the area was able to recover the other fisherman from the water.

The three fishermen that were recovered from the water by surface vessels were transferred to Emergency Medical Services personnel in Cerro Gordo, while the fisherman who was rescued by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter helicopter was transported to the Isla Grande Airport in San Juan and transferred there to awaiting  Emergency Medical Services personnel.

Coast Guard rescue crews involved in the search were:

  • MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
  • The Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus, a 110-foof patrol boat homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • A Coast Guard 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement  and a 45-foot Response Boat Medium from Coast Guard Boat Station San Juan.
  • An HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami.

 

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