Coast Guard Cutter Rescues 16 in Carribean

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – A Portsmouth based Coast Guard cutter rescued 13 fishermen Tuesday, another three Wednesday afternoon, and is still searching today for 20 others who remain missing approximately 20 nautical miles north of Monti Cristi, Dominican Republic.
The cutter Forward, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter with a crew of approximately 100, was on patrol in the Caribbean Tuesday when it was notified by the Coast Guard Rescue Sub-Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that Dominican Republic navy authorities were requesting assistance to search for survivors from a fishing vessel that had capsized.

The search controllers in San Juan diverted Forward, an HU-25 Falcon Jet and two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen to search for the missing fishermen. Since then, the Coast Guard Cutter Resolute, a Coast Guard HC-130 aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla., and a third HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Operations Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, a second HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Mobile, Ala., and the Dominican Republic Navy vessel Debna have covered more than 3,000 nautical square miles in the ongoing search.
Forward crewmembers have rescued a total of 16 fishermen, and an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico, rescued one. Two other crewmembers were rescued by a Good Samaritan early Tuesday and were turned them over to the Dominican Republic Navy Vessel Bellatrix.

According to survivors, the fishing vessel left Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, at about 5 p.m. Monday, with 39 people on board. It was en route to Silver Bank, located 60 nautical miles north of Puerto Plata, when it capsized at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.

“The 19 survivors rescued so far are very fortunate to be alive after being in the water for so long without any lifejackets or personal flotation devices, said Cmdr. Ricardo Rodriguez, commander, Sector San Juan Response.

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