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Rescuers search waters off Puerto Rico for men aboard boat lost at sea

By Manuel Crespo Feliciano, Accuweather en Español staff writer
August 14, 2019, 4:17:35 PM EDT

FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO - Since last Thursday, Aug. 8, the Coast Guard, along with agencies of the Department of Public Security, the National Guard and the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources of Puerto Rico, have undertaken the search for four missing men aboard a recreational boat, last spotted near Isla Icacos in the Fajardo area.

The Coast Guard has conducted more than 46 search missions in which different ships, helicopters and airplanes have covered more than 22,000 square nautical miles in the waters between Fajardo, Vieques and Culebra and the entire north coast of Puerto Rico.

To this day they have found no sign of the boat.


East winds 15 to 20 knots and seas 3 to 5 feet with occasional seas up to 6 feet are expected in these waters. (DRNA image)

“It is expected that the vessel has drifted with the sea current and the wind since nothing has given evidence of this vessel has been turned over,” said the commissioner of the Bureau of Emergency Management and Disaster Management (NMEAD), Carlos Acevedo in a local radio interview.

“We understand that they didn't have an anchor and then the tide and the wind pressure take it. They are moving at the rate of one mile per hour. We are talking that they must be about 100 miles somewhere in northern Puerto Rico, which is where the winds and sea currents are running. That is why the search extends today from the western area of Puerto Rico of Isla de Mona throughout the north and to the east,” the commissioner added.

The missing men are Héctor Méndez, 60, Héctor Méndez, Jr., 30, Javier Méndez, 52, and 58-year-old Víctor Goitía, who are relatives of the president of the House of Representatives, Carlos "Johnny" Méndez and Fajardo's first lady, Diana Méndez.

Personnel from a towing and salvage company in Fajardo reported having received a call from the boat operator on Thursday afternoon requesting assistance due to an engine failure near Isla Icacos. The operator of the salvage service reported not having seen the ship after arriving at the scene 30 minutes after the call.

It was not until 24 hours after the San Juan de la Guardia Sector Command Center received a telephone call from the 911 Emergency Service informing that the 22-foot boat did not return to Villa Marina in Fajardo when expected Thursday afternoon.

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