Coast Guard searches for 10 Haitians after boat breaks apart

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews continue searching Tuesday for 10 Haitian migrants in British Virgin Islands waters, after their vessel collided with shoal water Monday evening and broke apart throwing all the passengers on board into the water.

Still missing are five men, two women and three children, who reportedly were part of a group of 25 Haitian migrants who were traveling illegally from the Dutch and French Island of Saint Maarten to the British Virgin Islands aboard a grossly overloaded boat.

So far one person has been recovered deceased from the water, two others made it safely to shore and 12 others survived after being rescued from the water by Good Samaritan fishermen aboard the fishing vessel Argus, approximately three nautical miles south of Anegada, British Virgin Islands.

The incident was initially reported to the Coast Guard by a British Virgin Islands Search and Rescue VISAR volunteer and the British Virgin Islands Police, who reported that a cell phone call to the British Virgin Islands emergency lines was made from the migrant boat in distress. VISAR and Police authorities contacted Coast Guard Sector San Juan Joint Rescue Sub Center controllers to request Coast Guard assistance with the search efforts to find survivors from the broken vessel.

Since the search began Monday evening, Coast Guard rescue crews have been searching alongside VISAR rescue crews, British Virgin Islands Drug Squad marine units, British Virgin Islands Police, a Husky & Marine Salvage vessel, and the fishing vessel Argus. Coast Guard rescue crews conducted 11 searches with an HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Clearwater Fla., Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopters and Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague, spanning out over 586 square nautical miles throughout the search area.

Coast Guard Cutter Chincoteague is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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