Coast Guard rescues three people from overdue vessel in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

A rescue swimmer from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen boards an overdue vessel and assesses the condition of three people aboard six miles offshore Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Oct. 21, 2017. The 19-foot recreational vessel Elliots Paradise had been reported overdue to the Coast Guard by a family member who called 911 when the vessel didn't return on time. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A rescue swimmer from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen boards an overdue vessel and assesses the condition of three people aboard six miles offshore Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Oct. 21, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Crews from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and Coast Guard Sector San Juan located three people on an overdue vessel six miles offshore from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Saturday evening.

The 19-foot recreational vessel Elliots Paradise had been reported overdue to the Coast Guard by a family member who called 911 when the vessel didn’t return on time.

Sector San Juan command center watchstanders contacted Air Station Borinquen who launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew to begin the search, as well as a vessel from Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action (FURA) in Boqueron, Puerto Rico.

Just before sunset, the Dolphin crew located the divers waving their arms and the rescue swimmer deployed to check on their condition. The divers reported they had been on the water since early that morning with no radios, no cell phones and no way to call for help when they experienced engine trouble.

The nearby Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered was diverted to the scene and recovered the three adults, transporting them to family members waiting on shore. The vessel remained at anchor as the seas were too rough to conduct a safe tow.

“Making a float plan — letting your family on shore know where you’re going and when you’ll be back — that was the saving grace for these people, especially since they had no way to tell us they needed help,” said Lt. Cmdr. Roberto Concepcion, command duty officer for the Sector San Juan Command Center. “Their family knew the plan and knew to call us. We’re thankful this story had a happy ending but we still recommend boaters also carry VHF-FM radios.”

The Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered is a 154-foot fast response cutter homeported in Miami.

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