Coast Guard rescue crews ended a search Sunday afternoon for possible survivors of a migrant vessel, which capsized Saturday just off Martinica Beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico
Three of the migrants in this case were recovered deceased Saturday by authorities ashore, after the vessel reportedly ran aground and capsized when struck by wave on its final approach to shore. Fourteen other migrants from this case are in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Coast Guard rescues units completed six surface and air searches with no signs of survivors in the water.
“Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of those lost to this tragic incident,” said Capt. Gregory Magee, Deputy of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan. “Sadly, this case highlights the dangers illegal migrant voyages face when crossing the Mona Passage aboard grossly overloaded, unseaworthy makeshift boats with little or no lifesaving equipment onboard. These dangers are even greater when the migrant lives are in the hands of inexperienced boat operators who have no concern for the safety of their passengers.”
A 911 Emergency Service operator contacted Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector San Juan at 5:15 p.m. Saturday and relayed a call from a bystander on scene, who reported the incident. Coast Guard watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen and diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier (WPC-1115) to provide search and rescue assistance.
Other responding agencies included U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Office of Border Patrol, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, Puerto Rico Police and Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau.