SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat rescued four boaters Monday from a 52-foot sailing catamaran that ran aground in the Silver Banks, approximately 80 nautical miles north of the Dominican Republic.
Rescued are two men and two women, reported to be U.S. citizens, who were transiting aboard the Now or Never catamaran from Tortola, British Virgin Islands to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. when the incident occurred.
“This case highlights the importance of having the right emergency communication equipment onboard to communicate a distress situation as well as the great collaboration between the Coast Guard and Dominican Republic Navy crews that resulted in four lives being saved,” said Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Phillips, Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector News Orleans received the initial notification of the distress that was then relayed through the Coast Guard’s Seventh District to Sector San Juan for rescue assistance.
The distressed boaters reported that the Now or Never was taking on water after running aground in the Silver Banks, and that a dewatering pump was keeping up with the water coming inside the vessel.
Watchstanders in Coast Guard Sector San Juan proceeded to coordinate the launch of a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter out of Operation Bahamas in Great Inagua, Bahamas, that would transport dewatering pumps to the grounded vessel and provide any needed rescue assistance. They also issued an Emergency Group Calling transmission for any vessels in the area capable of responding.
The Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived on scene Monday afternoon and deployed a second dewatering pump to the Now or Never. The Coast Guard aircrew hoisted two of the boaters onboard the aircraft, while the two other boaters declined rescue assistance from the Coast Guard helicopter. The boaters who remained aboard the Now or Never were advised by the Coast Guard aircrew of incoming weather and a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat that was responding to the scene and would be arriving later that night.
The Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter transported the two boaters onboard to the island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, where they were released. Meanwhile, two Dominican Republic Navy patrol boats arrived on scene with the Now or Never Monday night and embarked the two remaining two boaters, who were safely transported to Samana, Dominican Republic.