Search Suspended for Missing Migrant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing stowaway that apparently jumped from a vessel near the entrance to the St. Johns River Sunday evening. Five more stowaways are in Customs and Boarder Protection custody.

The fifth migrant was found this morning by Navy security personnel on Naval Station Mayport, Fla., at approximately 8:45 a.m. Monday. The stowaways were aboard the barge Chicago Bridge being pushed by the tug Patriarch.

The Coast Guard’s search began after they received a call from the St. Johns River pilots reporting they heard someone calling for help behind their station Sunday at 8:35 p.m. The pilots launched a boat and rescued two migrants.

According to the rescued migrants, they jumped from the Chicago Bridge Sunday with two other migrants, and they never made it to shore. Coast Guard crews began searching for the two missing migrants along with a rescue boat crew from Jacksonville Fire-Rescue. Rescue crews didn’t find any sign of the missing migrants. Low visibility caused by heavy fog hampered search efforts Sunday night. Rescue crews, including surface and air assets, resumed searching Monday morning.

A law enforcement team from Customs and Border Protection boarded the Chicago Bridge and located two more illegal migrants Sunday night.

The migrants that were picked up from the water and Naval Station Mayport were transported to Baptist Beaches Medical Center where they were treated and turned over to CBP.

All six of the migrants are from the Dominican Republic.

The Patriarch and Chicago Bridge is a U.S. flagged tug and barge with a crew of seven. The tug and barge’s last port of call was Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

The search for the missing migrant lasted 17-hours and included seven different agencies conducting shore side and water side searches. Shore side searches covered from Nassau Sound, Fla., to Jacksonville Beach. Water side searches covered the St. Johns River from the Dane’s Point Bridge to the Jacksonville sea buoy and from Nassau Sound to Jacksonville Beach.

Rescue crews from the Navy, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Fire-Rescue, Naval Station Mayport Security, Huguenot and Hannah Park personnel, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Coast Guard all participated in the search.

If you have any problems viewing this article, please report it here.