Coast Guard ends search in the Caribbean Sea for six Cuban nationals of overdue migrant vessel

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard rescue crews ended a four-day search in the Caribbean Sea Tuesday evening for possible survivors of an overdue illegal migrant boat reportedly transporting a group of six Cuban nationals from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan received multiple phone calls Saturday from one of the overdue migrant’s family member, who reportedly resides in the U.S., notifying the migrant vessel was transporting three men and three women and had not arrived to Puerto Rico following its’ departure from Juan Dolio Beach in the Dominican Republic Dec. 17.

“While the fate of people may never be known or what happened to them, our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones during this difficult time,” said, Capt. Drew Pearson, Sector San Juan commander. “For those who know of a loved one attempting to make the illegal voyage across the Mona Passage, do your best to reason with them. Tell them to not go out to sea, to not entrust their lives to a smuggler and to not attempt the treacherous voyage, in doing so, they risk losing their lives.”

Coast Guard rescue crews searched more than 24 operational flying hours during nine air searches aboard multiple Coast Guard aircraft covering approximately 22,000 square nautical miles within the established search area. The search area comprised waters south of the Dominican Republic and the Mona Passage.

If anyone has any information on this case please contact the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center at 787-729-2041.

Coast Guard rescue crews involved in the search were:

• HC-130 Hercules maritime patrol aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

• HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Miami.


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