SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier intercepted and recovered an unmanned and adrift sailing vessel in the Mona Passage Monday after its owner reportedly fell overboard Sunday, approximately one nautical mile north of Camuy, Puerto Rico.
David Thompson, a U.S. citizen from Mich., was traveling to the Dominican Republic aboard the 49-foot Enthalpy II, when the sailing vessel was reportedly struck by a large wave that washed him overboard.
Thompson reported swimming for approximately seven hours until he was able to reach and exit the water in Montones Beach, Isabela, where he was able to seek and receive medical assistance.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan were contacted Emergency Medical Service personnel in Isabela, who notified the incident. Coast Guard watchstanders utilized the Automatic Identification System and located Enthalpy’s II position in the Mona Passage. The Joseph Napier was diverted and intercepted the sailing vessel approximately 23 nautical miles west of the island of Desecheo, Puerto Rico. The crew of the Joseph Napier took control of the sailing vessel and headed towards Añasco, Puerto Rico, where they received assistance from Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action personnel to secure and anchor the vessel in the vicinity of the municipal pier.
“This case speaks to the importance of having a reliable vessel tracking system onboard,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Capestany, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor. “The sailing vessel’s Automatic identification System allowed command center watchstanders to coordinate a safe response and prevent an at-sea collision by removing this hazard to navigation from the environment.”
Thompson was transported by Emergency Medical Service personnel to the “Buen Samaritano” hospital in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to receive further medical care.