Coast Guard, Dominican Republic Navy Rescue 16, Searching for 23 More

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard, Dominican Republic navy rescue crews and Good Samaritans have rescued 16 fishermen, and are still searching today for 23 others who are still missing after their fishing vessel capsized yesterday, approximately 20 nautical miles north of Monti Cristi, Dominican Republic.

The incident was initially reported to the Dominican Republic navy after crewmembers of a Good Samaritan vessel rescued two fishermen from the water yesterday.

Coast Guard Rescue Sub-Center, San Juan, received a request for assistance from Dominican Republic navy authorities yesterday afternoon to assist with the search efforts to find survivors from the capsized fishing vessel.

Since the search began yesterday, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Forward has rescued 13 fishermen from the water, the rescue crew of an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter has rescued one fisherman, and the crew from the Dominican Republic Navy Vessel Bellatrix received the two fishermen from the Good Samaritan vessel that initially rescued them from the water yesterday.

Coast Guard controllers immediately initiated the search yesterday by diverting a HU-25 Falcon Jet and Coast Guard Cutter Forward to the scene and launching two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen to search for the missing fishermen. Since then, Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., a third HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Operations Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, a second HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Mobile, Ala. and Dominican Republic Navy Vessel Debna have joined the search.

According to survivors, the 39 passengers aboard the fishing vessel initiated their trip at approximately 5 p.m. Monday from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to Silver Bank, located 60 nautical miles north of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, when their fishing vessel capsized at approximately 1 a.m. yesterday.

Coast Guard rescue crews completed searching a total of 14 search areas by 11 a.m. today covering over 2,380 nautical square miles, and continue to aggressively search for survivors.

Coast Guard Cutter Forward is a 270-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Portsmouth, Va.

Coast Guard Cutter Resolute is a 210-foot Medium Endurance Cutter homeported in Saint Petersburg, Fla.

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