Coast Guard calls off search for Cuban migrants believed to be lost at sea

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

After four days, the U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday called off its search for a group of Cuban migrants reported bound for Puerto Rico.

The three men and three women, aboard an “illegal migrant boat,” left Juan Dolio Beach in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 17, authorities said Wednesday.

But after the boat failed to arrive in Puerto Rico, family members in the United States called to alert the Coast Guard.

Rescue crews scoured some 22,000 square nautical miles south of the Dominican Republic and in between the two islands, a stretch known as the Mona Passage. Nine air crews logged 24 hours of flying time during the search.

“While the fate of the people may never be known or what happened to them, our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones during this difficult time,” U.S. Coast Guard San Juan Cmdr. Drew Pearson said in a news release.

“For those who know of a loved one attempting to make the illegal voyage across the Mona Passage, do your best to reason with them. Tell them to not go out to sea, to not entrust their lives to a smuggler, and to not attempt the treacherous voyage. In doing so, they risk losing their lives.”

Anyone with information on the case can call the Coast Guard’s San Juan Command Center at 787-729-2041.

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