Coast Guard Rescues 6 After Plane Crash

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews rescued six of seven Venezuelan passengers reportedly aboard a downed aircraft that crashed into the water Friday, approximately 32 nautical miles south of La Romana, Dominican Republic.

The Coast Guard suspended the search for the remaining missing female passenger pending further developments.

Three men and four women were flying from Venezuela to La Romana, Dominican Republic aboard a Beachcraft twin-engine airplane, when the aircraft crashed into the water as it was headed to La Romana Airport, Dominican Republic.

Coast Guard Sector San Juan Joint Rescue Sub Center controllers received a call at 12:28 p.m. Friday from air traffic controllers at La Romana Airport reporting the downed aircraft.

Coast Guard controllers immediately launched two HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and diverted Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague to the scene to assist with the search and rescue efforts.

A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew arrived on scene at approximately 12:57 p.m. and located the six survivors in the water. A Coast Guard helicopter aircrew hoisted aboard two of the survivors, one of them in critical condition, while a second helicopter aircrew hoisted another four survivors from the water. Despite search efforts, Coast Guard rescue crews were unable to find the missing passenger or find any sign of debris from the aircraft, after it reportedly sank shortly after impact.

The rescued passengers were transported to the La Romana Airport, Dominican Republic were they were transferred to Dominican Republic Emergency Medical Services personnel, who in turn, transported the survivors to a local hospital to receive further medical care.

“Thanks to the timely and precise information received from air traffic controllers in La Romana Airport and Caribbean Operations Center controllers in San Juan, our helicopters were able to arrive on scene rapidly and conduct the successful rescue of six survivors from this unfortunate airplane crash, said Lt. Cmdr. Dave Burns, Sector San Juan Chief of Response Operations. “The outstanding operational relationship between the Coast Guard and Dominican Republic authorities allowed for the survivors to receive immediate medical care after landing in La Romana.”

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