Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark rescues 3 men in waters off Fortuna Bay, Saint Thomas

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark rescued three men Saturday night aboard a 14-foot pleasure craft, after their vessel became disabled and adrift in waters southwest of Fortuna Bay, Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coast Guard Joint Rescue Sub Center controllers received a telephone call at approximately 8:30 p.m. Saturday from a family member of one the men aboard the distressed vessel, who reported that the men where headed to a local fishing spot off Fortuna Bay when their vessel became disabled and adrift anywhere from one to five miles from shore.

Coast Guard controllers diverted the Reef Shark to the scene and launched an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to search for the distressed vessel. The crew of the Reef Shark located the men aboard their vessel, approximately half a nautical mile from shore and they launched their small boat to provide assistance. The crew of the Reef Shark’s small boat towed the vessel and three men onboard to safety to a dock in the West Gregory Channel, Saint Thomas.

“This case is a perfect example of how having all required safety equipment onboard can save your life,” said Lt. j.g. Rachel Cruzcosa, commanding officer Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark. “Being signaled by the distressed vessel via spotlight excelled the cutters response time and prevented the distressed vessel from drifting into dangerous rock cliffs.”

This is the third Search and Rescue Case that the Reef Shark has responded too in the U.S. Virgin Islands since it was recently commissioned to the Coast Guard 23 March.
The Reef Shark is the final 87-foot patrol boat commissioned for service in the Coast Guard and is homported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Reef Shark will be responsible for conducting search and rescue, law enforcement, maritime safety, and homeland defense operations throughout the Caribbean Sea.

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