USCG Suspends Search for Possible Missing Migrants off Puerto Rico

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U.S. Coast Guard rescue crews suspended their search once 54 migrants were accounted for after their yola capsized following an at-sea interdiction Tuesday, February 3, by Caribbean Border Interagency Group agencies, approximately 13 nautical miles west of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
 
A total of 45 men and nine women were safely onboard the Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo, while CBIG partner agencies determined the nationalities of the interdicted migrants.
 
The crew of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection fixed-wing aircraft located a migrant vessel the moring of February 3 while patrolling Mona Passage waters. The migrants were traveling illegally to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic aboard a 30-foot grossly overloaded wooden yola.
 
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Puerto Rico Police F.U.R.A. marine units responded to the scene, interdicted the migrant vessel and began embarking the migrants due to rough seas and after determining the homemade vessel was unseaworthy. 
USCG Sector San Juan controllers diverted Key Largo and an Air Station Borinquen HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to assist the marine units on scene.
 
During the transfer of migrants, the yola capsized throwing an undetermined number of persons into the water. Customs and Border Protection and F.U.R.A. agents recovered the migrants from the water, while USCG aircrews began searching for possible missing persons.
 
Afterwards, the USCG Cutter Key Largo rendezvoused with Customs and Border Protection and F.U.R.A. marine units, and Key Largo crewmembers safely embarked and accounted for all 54 migrants.
 
USCG’s Cutter’s Key Largo is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.