SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard helicopter rescued two stranded boaters Thursday after their 34-foot sailing vessel, Sea Angel, ran aground Tuesday on Playa Mujeres Beach on Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
Rescued are two U.S. citizens from Hayes and Hartfield Va., who reported running aground at approximately 11:45p.m. Tuesday after they were exposed to 20-25 knot winds, eight to nine foot seas and currents that pushed the sailing vessel to the southwest corner of Mona Island.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan were notified of the incident by a patrolling Coast Guard cutter in the vicinity of Mona Island that located the vessel aground.
The boaters were able to exit the sailing vessel with minor scrapes and bruises and contact Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources park rangers stationed on Mona Island. Mona Island is a natural reserve that is only occupied by DPNR park rangers that watch over the island and manage visitors.
The boaters were recovered Thursday by the crew of a Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter that transported them to Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
“It’s an important lesson for all of us,” said Lt. Kenneth Walton, Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander. “The sea is unpredictable. Even the most experienced of us need a helping hand from time to time. After hearing what the two gentlemen went through, I could not have hoped for a better outcome.”
There were no signs of pollution coming from the grounded vessel that reportedly has approximately 15 gallons of diesel fuel onboard. Coast Guard pollution investigators are monitoring the situation as the boaters are making arrangements with commercial salvage to remove the vessel from the island.