Coast Guard recovers 5 bodies and rescues 66 near Mona Island
By The Star Staff
Coast Guard air and surface units responded Thursday to an incident involving a suspected illegal voyage vessel that left a group of non-U.S. citizens offshore near Punta Arenas on Mona Island.
Park rangers from the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) on Mona Island reported that they recovered five bodies from the water along with 66 survivors, 41 men and 25 women, including two minors who are safe on land.
Coast Guard watchers received a communication at around 8:36 a.m. Thursday from United States Customs and Border Protection agents relaying a report from DNER rangers on Mona Island, who reported the incident.
Coast Guard lookouts directed the launch of several MH-60T helicopters from Borinquen Air Station and diverted Coast Guard Patrolman Joseph Tezanos and Coast Guard Patrolman Joseph Napier to the scene. Customs and Border Protection marine units and Puerto Rico Police Joint Rapid Action Forces also responded.