Coast Guard rescues U.S. citizen from life raft in the Mona Passage

A Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew rescued a 46-year old boater, who is a U.S. citizen from Texas, from a life raft early Dec. 2, 2018, approximately 30 nautical miles east of Samana, Dominican Republic. The boater's 26-foot outboard powered catamaran capsized and sank in the Mona Passage after taking on water.

A Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew rescued a 46-year old boater from a life raft early Dec. 2, 2018.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew rescued a boater from a life raft early Sunday morning, approximately 30 nautical miles east of Samana, Dominican Republic.

Rescued is Justin Smith, a 46-year-old man and U.S. citizen from Dallas, Texas.

“This case demonstrates how being prepared beforehand can save your life,” said Lt. Cmdr. Adam Mullin, MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircraft commander. β€œThe survivor was in a life raft with a VHF radio, strobe lights, flares, a life vest, and an EPIRB, which made him highly visible and easy to locate. We were able to get on scene, quickly located the survivor, and rescued him with the help of our rescue swimmer.”

Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received a Mayday radio transmission at 3 a.m. Sunday on VHF-Channel 16 from Smith, who notified he deployed and embarked his life raft after his 26-foot catamaran capsized and sank while transiting from Fajardo, Puerto Rico to Samana, Dominican Republic.

Watchstanders in Coast Guard Sector San Juan launched a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen to search for the reported distress and provide any needed rescue assistance.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew arrived on scene and located a yellow life raft with Smith onboard. The crew deployed their rescue swimmer, who was able to reach and secure the survivor to the aircraft rescue basket and hoist him safely onboard the helicopter.

The Coast Guard aircrew transported the survivor to the Coast Guard Air Station in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, where he was released after declining medical assistance from awaiting Emergency Medical Service personnel.

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