Coast Guard suspends search for missing snorkeler just off Puerto Rico

The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos

Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos file photo

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard suspended a four-day search for a missing snorkeler Saturday evening, pending further developments, in waters extending from Vieques to the main island of Puerto Rico.

Still missing is Joanna Rebis, 38, from Chicago, Illinois; last seen at 1p.m. Wednesday on the “Punta Arenas” shoreline in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

“Unfortunately we did not find Ms. Rebis, despite the extensive search efforts from all responding agencies,” said Lt. Cmdr. Alberto Martinez, Search and Rescue Mission coordinator for the case. “We remain hopeful that one day we may come to know more about the circumstances that led to her disappearance. For people vacationing in Puerto Rico or just enjoying a day at the beach, we highly encourage you monitor the sea state and heed any warning signs for dangerous rip currents. Most of the beaches in Puerto Rico are open water beaches and do not have lifeguards, having someone looking out for you in case of a distress situation could just save your life or the life of a loved one.”

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officer initially informed watchstanders at Sector San Juan at 7:15p.m. Wednesday of a missing snorkeler in Vieques Island.

Coast Guard air and surface assets involved in the search conducted a combined total of 27 air and surface searches covering 2,391 square nautical miles, an area approximately one-third the size of Puerto Rico.

Coast Guard assets involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Reef Shark
  • Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos
  • Coast Guard MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Borinquen
  • Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.
  • Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft from Air Station Clearwater, Fla.

 

Units and personnel from Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also participated in the search.

Anyone with any information on this case should contact the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center at 787-289-2041.

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