SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard and Puerto Rico Police rescue crews responding to a capsized 19-foot boat combined efforts to rescue two men and recover two women deceased Sunday night, just off the coast of Humacao, Puerto Rico.
“Our most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the deceased,” said CDR Lawrence Gaillard, Operations Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla. “We commend the swift response and professionalism displayed by local emergency responders who saved two lives and the Coast Guard aircrew while recovering the bodies of the two women. We hope and pray their loved ones find peace and closure during this most difficult time.”
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan were initially notified of the incident at 6:48 p.m. Sunday by a 911 emergency operator, who relayed a report from a bystander at the Palmas del Mar Resort in Humacao. The bystander reported seeing two people off the coast holding onto an object and waving their arms for assistance.
Coast Guard watchstanders launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew out of Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, and coordinated efforts with the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action rescue crews that were also responding.
The crew of the Puerto Rico Joint Forces of Rapid Action marine unit arrived on scene and rescued the two men in the water, while the Coast Guard rescue helicopter deployed their rescue swimmer to the capsized vessel where the two female passengers were found deceased reportedly wearing lifejackets and entangled in the vessel’s lines. The rescue swimmer cut the lines entangling the bodies of the women and swam approximately 50 yards pulling each of them to shore one at a time, where they were transferred to awaiting emergency response authorities ashore.