SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Coast Guard, police, and emergency management agencies concluded the search for two missing scuba divers who were rescued by a fisherman Wednesday night in Caribbean Sea waters off ‘Caja de Muertos’ (Coffin Island), Puerto Rico.
Rescued are José Oquendo,25, and Emanuel Rodríguez, 29, after a local fisherman, reportedly a friend of the survivors, found and rescued them from the water just off the CariCOOS weather buoy a mile and a half south of ‘Caja de Muertos.’
“We are very happy for the survivors and their families on the successful outcome of this search and rescue case,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Sector San Juan commander. “I express my heartfelt appreciation to all the Coast Guard units, local agencies and Good Samaritans for their professionalism and dedication displayed throughout the search efforts. We also remind mariners of having the right emergency signaling equipment when conducting activities in the water and heeding weather advisories especially when the area was being affected by a passing tropical storm system.”
The two survivors were dive fishing off a boat with two others, who were aboard the vessel when they reported losing sight of both divers Wednesday morning.
Coast Guard watchstanders at the Sector San Juan Joint Rescue Sub-Center received initial notification of the incident from a 911 Emergency Service operator at 8:50 a.m. At approximately, 1:50 p.m. the stepfather of one of the divers reported relocating the dive buoy that was being used by the survivors.
Coast Guard watchstanders received a communication at 7:11 p.m. from Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau personnel reporting the divers had been rescued. The fisherman transported the survivors to the ‘La Playa’ Sector in Ponce, where they were received by family, rescue authorities and Emergency Medical Service personnel on scene.
Coast Guard rescue units involved in the search conducted four air searches and one surface search through the search area, covering approximately 104 square nautical miles.
Coast Guard and rescue units and agencies involved in the search:
- Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters
- Coast Guard Cutter Heriberto Hernandez
- Coast Guard Sector San Juan watch standers
- Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action
- Ponce Municipal Police
- PONCE Municipal Office of Emergency Management (OMME)
- Puerto Medical Emergency Corps
- Puerto Rico 911 Emergency Systems Bureau