SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft assisted a Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat in locating a disabled migrant yola (boat) in the Atlantic Ocean Monday night through Tuesday morning off the coast of Cabrera, Dominican Republic.
The migrant boat reportedly was transiting with 46 people onboard who were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico.
“The prompt communication and swift response between the Coast Guard and Dominican Republic Navy rescue crews allowed for a quick detection and the lives of the people onboard to be saved,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Douglas, Sector San Juan chief of law enforcement. “For those considering the perilous voyage aboard a makeshift vessel across the Mona Passage, do not take to the sea, you risk losing your life or the life of a loved one.”
Coast Guard watchtanders in Sector San Juan were contacted Monday night by Dominican naval authorities, through the Coast Guard Liaison Officer in the Dominican Republic, requesting assistance in locating the missing vessel.
The Coast Guard aircraft launched for the search arrived on scene at approximately 11p.m. Monday and the aircrew located the migrant boat as they observed the people onboard waving their arms for assistance, approximately three nautical miles off the coast of Cabrera.
The crew of the Coast Guard aircraft relayed the information to the Dominican Republic Navy patrol boat Proción, which was then diverted and vectored-in to the vessel’s position for the rescue by the Coast Guard aircrew.
The crew of the Proción rescued the migrants from the disabled vessel early Tuesday morning and transported them to the Dominican Republic.