Coast Guard Rescues 2 near Cabo San Juan Lighthouse

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Coast Guard helicopter aircrew saved two boaters at 4:21 a.m. Monday, approximately two nautical miles north northwest of the Cabo San Juan Lighthouse, Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

Pablo Cotto and Moraima Roldan were rescued by the crew of a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla. Cotto and Roldan were among 10 people aboard a 24-foot recreational boat that was diasabled and adrift between the Island of Icacos and Fajardo. The two boaters separated from the group, jumping into the water when the boat became disabled.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew located Cotto and Roldan using night vision goggles as the pair drifted out to sea. The crew’s rescue swimmer was deployed and they safely hoisted Cotto and Roldan aboard the aircraft and transported them to Coast Guard Base San Juan. The boaters were subsequently transferred to Emergency Medical Services personnel waiting at the base.

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Controllers at Sector San Juan received a call at 11:05 p.m. from Sea Rescue personnel in Fajardo who were enroute to assist the distressed boaters. Sea Rescue notified the Coast Guard that two of the boaters had jumped into the water and currents had taken them out to sea. Controllers then launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, to search for Cotto and Roldan.

Sea Rescue located the remaining boaters aboard the pleasure craft and towed them safely into Villa Marina, Fajardo. Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces for Rapid Action F.U.R.A. air and Cobra marine units also assisted with the search efforts.

“This case had the potential of being a real tragedy,” said Cmdr. Ricardo Rodriguez, Sector San Juan Response Commander. “We are very fortunate to have found Mr. Cotto and Ms. Roldan alive after being in the water for over five hours without wearing any life vests. I can not stress enough the importance of wearing appropriate life vests at all times when doing recreational boating”

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