Coast Guard Rescues 8 Cubans in PR
U.S. Coast Guard | Ricardo D. Castrodad | November 29, 2006
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station
Borinquen yesterday hoisted to safety, eight Cuban migrants who were
stranded on Monito Island, Puerto Rico since Saturday.
The migrants were allegedly smuggled into Puerto Rico from Haiti aboard
an unidentified boat. They were located by the crew of a Florida Air
National Guard C-26 fixed-wing aircraft at approximately 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, while on a law enforcement patrol in the Mona Passage.
Coast Guard controllers diverted the Cutter Key Largo and launched an
HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Borinquen to rescue the
The Coast Guard helicopter and the Key Largo arrived on scene and
confirmed that there were five male and three female migrants on Monito
waving their hands over their heads requesting assistance. The
helicopter aircrew used their basket to hoist five Cuban migrants and
transported them to Mona Island, returning to Monito to safely hoist the
remaining three migrants. Once on Mona Island, six of the migrants
boarded a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Blackhawk helicopter while
the remaining two migrants were transported by the Dolphin helicopter to
the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Caribbean Air Marine Branch in
Aguadilla. All migrants were transferred safely to Border Patrol agents
in Aguadilla at approximately 3 p.m. Tuesday.
"The migrants seriously endangered their lives by climbing the sharp
rocks of Monito Island, said Lt. Cmdr. Adam Chamie, Commanding Officer
of Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo. They landed on an uninhabited island
where they were lucky to have been found in time before any of them
developed a severe case of dehydration or suffered a serious injury."
Monito Island is an uninhabited island two and a half nautical miles
northwest of Mona Island, Puerto Rico. It is inaccessible by sea and is
a subdivision of the municipality of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Coast Guard Cutter Key Largo is a 110-foot patrol boat home ported in
San Juan, Puerto Rico.