Search Suspended for Charter Boat with 30 Passengers

 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – U.S. Coast Guard and Dominican Republic Navy rescue crews suspended their search today for more than 30 people aboard a disabled charter boat reported missing Monday, while on a recreational boating trip along the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic Navy notified the Coast Guard Monday evening after receiving a cellular phone call reportedly from one of the passengers aboard the missing vessel. The caller reported eight U.S. citizens were aboard a disabled charter boat in the vicinity of Catalina Island, Dominican Republic and that they had no marine radio onboard. The Dominican Republic Navy requested Coast Guard assistance with search efforts at about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

No further information about the vessel was conveyed during the distress call.

Coast Guard controllers were able to contact today the passenger who made the distress call, and she further reported that the disabled vessel received assistance Monday from a Good Samaritan vessel and was safely towed to La Romana, Dominican Republic. The reporting source clarified that the charter boat was carrying more than 30 passengers, including 8 U.S. citizens, when it ran out of gas. All of the passengers were reported being in good health.

“It’s extremely important for callers who initiate a distress call to contact authorities once the distress situation has ended,” said Cmdr. Ricardo Rodriguez, Sector San Juan Response Chief. “If Dominican or Coast Guard authorities would have been notified that the distress was over, this massive search by both governments could have been prevented and substantial money and resources saved.”

Since Monday, the U.S. Coast Guard Joint Rescue Sub-Center San Juan has coordinated the search efforts of two Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen, Aguadilla, and a HU-25 Falcon Jet from Air Station Miami, Fla. A total of five searches were flown covering an area of approximately 1,578 square nautical miles.

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