Coast Guard delivers victims of sunken vessel to Puerto Rico

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez disembarked a family of three survivors of a capsized vessel in San Juan, Puerto Rico June 2, 2018. U.S. citizens and Florida residents Steve Kopesky, 51; Jessica Kopesky; 41, and their daughter, were wearing their lifejackets when they were rescued in the Atlantic Ocean May 31, 2018, in waters north of the Haiti and the Dominican Republic border. The family was rescued by the crew of the cargo vessel Jacamar Arrow, who overheard a distress call on VHF channel 16 radio and completed a six-hour transit to rescue the family.

Florida residents Steve Kopesky, 51; Jessica Kopesky; 41, and their daughter, were wearing their lifejackets when they were rescued in the Atlantic Ocean May 31, 2018, in waters north of the Haiti and the Dominican Republic border. 

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez disembarked a family of three survivors from a capsized vessel at Coast Guard Sector San Juan Saturday, following their rescue Wednesday night by the crew of the cargo vessel Jacamar Arrow in the Atlantic Ocean, in waters north of the Haiti and Dominican Republic border.

Rescued are U.S. citizens and Florida residents Steve Kopesky, 51; Jessica Kopesky; 41, and their daughter, who were transiting from Turks and Caicos to the Dominican Republic aboard the sailing vessel Lost Marbles, when their vessel began taking on water and capsized approximately 22 nautical miles northwest of Montecristi, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a satellite phone call Thursday morning from the Captain of the 654-foot Bahamian-flagged cargo vessel Jacamar Arrow, who reported responding to a VHF Channel 16 distress call from the Lost Marbles. Following a six-hour transit, the Jacamar Arrow reportedly arrived on scene and the crew located the survivors in the water and rescued all three family members in good health. The survivors were reported to be wearing lifejackets when rescued.

“In this case, the wearing of lifejackets and the use and monitoring of a VHF marine radio saved lives,” said Lt. Thomas Carman, U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan command duty officer. “Having a properly working VHF radio allowed the survivors to call-out for life-saving assistance. The Coast Guard applauds the rescue and actions performed by the crew of the Jacamar Arrow and commends the survivors on their use of lifesaving equipment.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez later rendezvoused with the Jacamar Arrow, embarked all three survivors and transported them to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they received further assistance from Customs and Border Protection Officers and Department of State of Puerto Rico officials.

“As soon as the Department of State of Puerto Rico received notification of this case and that the survivors were brought to Puerto Rico after their vessel capsized near the Dominican Republic, we have been working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to offer this family the necessary assistance in recovering their identifications and finding lodging,” said Hon. Luis Gerardo Rivera Marín, Secretary of the Department of State of Puerto Rico. “Also, the Department of Family has offered their assistance and have social workers ready to support their needs. Thank God there were no misfortunes and we trust this family will recover from this unfortunate experience and return home to their loved ones as soon as possible.”

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