Coast Guard rescues one, continues search for survivors of capsized vessel

Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser file photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake

Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser file photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard surface and air rescue crews continued searching Thursday for possible survivors of a capsized migrant vessel that reportedly sank Monday in waters near Mona Island, Puerto Rico.

So far, one man, who claimed to be a Dominican Republic national, has been rescued, while 12 others reportedly remain missing.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector San Juan were contacted via a VHF Channel 16 radio transmission at approximately 7 p.m. Wednesday from the motor tanker Coral Energy, requesting search and rescue assistance in the area after the crew reportedly heard voices coming from the water, approximately 10 miles north of Mona Island.

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) diverted to the area and arrived on scene with the tanker, where the rescued man was located by the crew of the tanker Coral Energy. The crew used a spotlight to vector-in the cutter Joseph Doyle to the survivor’s position. The cutter Joseph Doyle came alongside and safely recovered the survivor from the water. Following his rescue, the survivor reported he was traveling with 12 other people when their boat which capsized and sank, that he had been in the water since Monday and was able to stay afloat while holding on to two gasoline containers, which caused him to receive chemical burns on his body.

Coast Guard watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC-1116) and launched an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft to initiate the search for possible survivors.

As of Thursday night, Coast Guard rescue crews participating in the search are:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser (WPC-1116)
  • Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133)
  • Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen
  • Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Miami
  • Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

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