Coast Guard, good Samaritan rescue 19 from water off Islamorada

Motor tanker Methoni and their life boat approximately 33 miles southeast of Alligator Reef Lighthouse near Islamorada, Florida, Dec. 31, 2021. 19 Cuban Migrants were rescued by the motor tanker Methoni crew. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Alex Hughes)

Motor tanker Methoni and their life boat approximately 33 miles southeast of Alligator Reef Lighthouse near Islamorada, Florida, Dec. 31, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ensign Alex Hughes)

MIAMI — The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan rescued 19 Cubans, Friday, approximately 33 miles southeast of Alligator Reef Lighthouse near Islamorada, Florida.

All 19 people were rescued by the motor tanker Methoni crew. One person required a higher level of medical care and an Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew hoisted and transferred the person ashore to local emergency medical technicians for further transfer to Fisherman’s Hospital in Marathon.

The Methoni crew contacted Sector Key West Command Center watchstanders at 1:40 p.m. reporting they launched their life boat to assist in recovering people from the water. One of the survivors stated to the Methoni crew there were 19 people on their raft before it flipped over.

“We are extremely thankful for the Methoni crew for rescuing everyone from the water and notifying us quickly,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Altieri, a duty watchstander at Sector Key West Command Center. “As we close out 2021, it’s good to know these 19 people will get back safely to their families.”

The Cutter Charles Sexton crew transferred the remaining 18 people aboard and they are expected to be returned to their country of origin.

Coast Guard assets involved in the search include:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans
  • Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton
  • Coast Guard Station Islamorada 45-foot Response Boat—Medium boat crew
  • Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew
  • Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew
  • Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew

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