Two Migrants Missing on St. Johns River, Four Others in Custody

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two stowaways are missing after they apparently jumped from a vessel at the entrance to the St. Johns River. Four more migrants are in Customs and Border Protection custody.

The Coast Guard received a call from the St. Johns River pilots reporting they heard someone calling for help behind their station at 8:35 p.m. The pilots launched a boat and rescued two migrants. The two migrants were transferred to a Coast Guard rescue boat and then to Jacksonville Fire-Rescue at Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville. The two migrants were apparently stowaways aboard the barge Chicago Bridge being pushed by the tug Patriarch.

According to the rescued migrants, they jumped from the Chicago Bridge with two other migrants, and they never made it to shore. Coast Guard crews began searching for the two missing migrants along with a rescue boat crew from Jacksonville Fire-Rescue. Rescue crews didn’t find any sign of the missing migrants, but low visibility caused by heavy fog has hampered search efforts. Rescue crews, including surface and air assets, are planning on resuming the search Monday at first light.

A law enforcement team from Customs and Border Protection boarded the Chicago Bridge and located two more illegal migrants. The nationality of all six of the migrants is unclear at this time.

The two migrants that were picked up from the water were transported to Baptist Beaches Medical Center where they were treated and turned over to CBP.

The Patriarch and Chicago Bridge is a U.S. flagged tug and barge with a crew of seven. The tug and barge’s last port of call was Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

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