Coast Guard completes search for survivors of capsized boat in Samana Bay, Dominican Republic

7th Coast Guard District NewsSAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews completed a request for assistance Sunday afternoon to search for possible survivors from a capsized migrant boat in Samana Bay, Dominican Republic, after Dominican Republic authorities notified no longer requiring Coast Guard assistance with rescue efforts.

The boat (yola) capsized Saturday morning in the vicinity of Samana Bay off the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, reportedly carrying more than 40 passengers onboard.

According to reports from Dominican Republic authorities, 18 people are confirmed dead, there are at least 11 survivors and an undetermined number of people missing.

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of the men and women who lost their lives to the perils of the sea,” said Capt. Drew Pearson, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “Migrants are risking their lives when they trust ruthless smugglers to make the dangerous voyage across the Mona Passage to Puerto Rico in makeshift-grossly overloaded boats, without any consideration to weather conditions or the safety and lives of their passengers.”

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Joint Rescue Sub Center watchstanders initially received notification of the incident at approximately 3p.m. Saturday from the Coast Guard Liaison Officer stationed in the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who also relayed the initial request for assistance from Dominican Republic navy authorities to assist with the efforts to find and rescue survivors.

Coast Guard rescue crews involved in the search efforts consisted of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, a HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami on deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Operations Bahamas, Turks and Caicos.

The Coast Guard Cutter Sapelo is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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