The Coast Guard is in the process of responding to an emergency near Desecheo Island, after a reconnaissance plane from the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP, in English), sighted a boat with an undetermined number of people that was sinking.
Ricardo Castrodadpress spokesman for the Coast Guard in San Juan, told The new day who responded to the emergency reported at 11:47 am by dispatching helicopters from the Borinquen Air Station, in Aguadilla, and with the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos.
Units of the Marine Division of the United Rapid Action Forces (FURA) of Aguadilla and Añasco collaborate with the CBP and the Coast Guard in the rescue efforts.
For its part, the Aguadilla Comandancia Press Office indicated, in a written communication, that FURA personnel have rescued several people, but an undetermined number of travelers have drowned.
“They noted that the yawl was capsized and that many of the people in the water appeared to have no life jackets. There are also maritime units from CBP and the United Rapid Action Forces (FURA) collaborating in the rescue efforts”, highlighted Castrodad by telephone.
The Coast Guard indicated, through written statements, that they suspect that the ship was making an illegal trip and that, at the moment, they do not have an exact count of people who were on board, or information regarding the origin of the ship.
“I have no information, at this time, about rescued people or people who may have died,” added Castrodad.
“The priority is to save as many lives as we can. This is an urgent situation, and it is a tragic situation because this is what we have been talking about for weeks. They are home-made boats, overloaded, unseaworthy and without life-saving equipment on board. It doesn’t take long for these boats to suffer an accident. You never want something like this to happen and we always patrol and seek to stop these vessels as quickly as possible, but this is a constant movement by these human trafficking organizations,” Castrodad said.
Pending to elnuevodia.com for the update of this story.