Coast Guard stops looking for 20-year-old boater missing near Puerto Rico

The U.S. Coast Guard began searching for 18-year-old Erik Joel Lugo Sherrills and 20-year-old Jan Carlos Olivos Castro late Wednesday afternoon after getting a call that their boat was sinking near Rio Grande, Puerto Rico.

They found Sherrills Friday afternoon. They haven’t found Castro — and they suspended the search for him at sundown Sunday.

“Making the determination to suspend a search is always a difficult one, and one that is not made lightly,” Capt. Eric P. King, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander, said in a statement. “We have been in constant contact with the family and loved ones of this young man, and our deepest sympathy goes out to them during this most difficult time.”

According to the Coast Guard, Castro and Sherrills were on a 16-foot boat with two other men when a friend notified Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action that he had a friend on boat that was taking on water near Culebra, Puerto Rico.

That was around 5 p.m. Wednesday. The two other men swam to the shore of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, while the boat sank on Thursday. On Friday, they told the Coast Guard they had swum six miles, from sinking ship to shore, and their two friends were wearing life jackets.

The Coast Guard says rescue crews covered 4,065 nautical miles in their search, including the waters between Culebra Island and the northeastern Puerto Rican coast.

Anyone with information on where Castro might be can contact the Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center at 787-289-2041.