Coast Guard suspends search for more than 90 Dominicans

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews suspended their search at 7 p.m. Wednesday for a missing yola (boat) with more than 90 Dominican migrants aboard, that reportedly went missing while traveling illegally to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican migrants are still missing after a four-day search by Coast Guard and Dominican Republic rescue crews to find survivors.

Coast Guard rescue crews have been searching since Sunday aboard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, a HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Miami, an Air Station Clearwater, Fla. HC-130 Hercules aircraft, and the Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous, spanning more than 22,238 square nautical miles throughout the search area. The search area encompassed Mona Passage waters between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico and waters south southeast of La Romana, Dominican Republic. Customs and Border Protection aircrews patrolling Mona Passage waters also assisted in the search efforts.

“The search has been suspended pending further developments, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of the missing Dominicans,” said Captain Eduardo Pino, Sector San Juan Sector Commander. “This is the third tragic case involving Dominican migrants that has taken place in less than a month. We call out to the Dominican people for their help in preventing these tragedies. Do not allow your loved ones to put their lives in the hands of migrant smugglers, criminals, who care only about making a profit.”

The incident was initially reported to the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Joint Rescue Sub Center at 11:40 p.m. Saturday by a woman who claimed her boyfriend departed from the Dominican Republic Wednesday night aboard a yola with more than 40 migrants aboard. The group of migrants aboard the yola never reached Puerto Rico shores, after they were expected to arrive Friday.

Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous is a medium endurance cutter home ported in Cape May, N.J.

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