Coast Guard rescues 7 Cuban migrants stranded off a 100-foot cliff in Mona Island, Puerto Rico

One of seven suspected migrants is hoisted to safety off the rocks of Mona Island, Puerto Rico, by an Air Station Borinquen MH-65 helicopter crew, Thursday, March 19, 2015. Uninhabited Mona Island is located approximately 41 miles west of Puerto Rico and 38 miles east of the Dominican Republic in the Mona Passage.

One of seven suspected migrants is hoisted to safety off the rocks of Mona Island, Puerto Rico, by an Air Station Borinquen MH-65 helicopter crew, Thursday, March 19, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard video)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of a Coast Guard helicopter rescued seven Cuban migrants Thursday, who were stranded on a rock formation at the bottom of a 100-foot cliff off Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

“These six men and woman are very fortunate to have survived,” said Capt. Robert Warren, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “For those contemplating the voyage, do not take to the sea. You would be placing your lives in the hands of smugglers who care nothing for your safety or survival.”

The six men and a woman rescued were spotted Thursday morning by Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources Park Rangers stationed on Mona Island, who reported to the Coast Guard seven people stranded on a rock formation 20 to 30 feet above the water.

Coast Guard Watchstanders in Sector San Juan proceeded to divert the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen to complete the rescue.

The rough seas did not allow for a small boat rescue of the migrants. Upon the arrival of the Coast Guard rescue helicopter to the scene, the crew deployed their rescue swimmer from the aircraft to assess the situation. The stranded migrants were assisted by the rescue swimmer and safely hoisted and removed from the danger by the Coast Guard helicopter. The rescued migrants were reported to be in good health and transferred to the care of island park rangers until weather conditions allowed for the Matinicus to safely remove them by small boat from Mona Island.

The Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus is a 110-foot patrol boat, homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.



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