Coast Guard suspends active search for snorkeler in Escondida Beach

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, Coast Guard rescue crews at Sector San Juan suspended their active search Wednesday evening pending further developments for a missing snorkeler at Escondida Beach, Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

Still missing is James Hawvermale, 50, resident of W. Va., who reportedly was pulled out beyond the reef line by a riptide while snorkeling at Escondida Beach with his wife and two other friends on vacation in Puerto Rico.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and family of Mr. Hawvermale for their loss,” said Capt. Eduardo Pino, Sector San Juan commander. “Swimmers, snorkelers and divers should swim in designated public beach areas and consider the risks of swimming in unfamiliar waters with dangerous rip currents.”

Coast Guard Search and Rescue Coordinators at Sector San Juan received a 911 call at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday with a report from a bystander at Escondida Beach of a swimmer in distress.

Since the search began Tuesday, Coast Guard rescue crews aboard Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla MH-65 Dolphin helicopters, Boat Station San Juan response boats, and the Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague conducted a total of 14 searches spanning out 156 square nautical miles. Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action and Puerto Rico Emergency Management rescue crews also searched for Hawvermale with land teams, divers, jet skies and helicopters.

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