Coast Guard rescues 3 Dominicans, searching for 1 other

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews rescued three Dominican migrants Thursday afternoon and are searching for one other, who is missing after their vessel capsized in waters northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

Still missing is José Espinal, reportedly last seen by survivors before their vessel capsized, while Saul Calcano Reyes, Joel Antonio Roa and Alejandro Castillo are the survivors who were rescued.

The migrants reportedly departed Saturday from Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic and were on their way to pick up more passengers prior to departing for Puerto Rico.

Espinal reportedly was able to contact a family member via cell phone Saturday and Sunday requesting assistance and reporting they were disabled approximately 25 nautical miles off “Cabo Frances Viejo” north of Nagua, Dominican Republic.

The incident was initially reported to the Coast Guard Wednesday afternoon through inquiries received from the Associated Press on an article written by a EFE wire service reporter in the Dominican Republic. The EFE wire service also contacted the Coast Guard and provided valuable contact information that assisted in the search efforts for the missing migrants.

Coast Guard controllers in Sector San Juan, after coordinating with Dominican Republic Navy and Civil Defense authorities, launched an Air Station Clearwater, Fla. C-130 Hercules aircraft on deployment to Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico to search for the missing migrants Thursday. During the final leg of the search, the crew of the C-130 aircraft located at 3:45 p.m. Thursday an overturned vessel with three male survivors clinging to it, approximately 45 nautical miles northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen launched a HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to the scene to rescue the survivors. The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived on scene with the capsized vessel, deployed their rescue swimmer and safely hoisted all three survivors aboard the aircraft. The survivors were transported to the Puerto Plata Airport, Dominican Republic, where they were transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services personnel.

Dominican Republic Navy, Civil Defense and Fire Rescue authorities also searched for the missing Dominicans along with family and friend’s of the three survivors and still missing Espinal.

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