“It was not a shipwreck”: the Border Patrol confirms that undocumented immigrants were forced to jump into the sea near Mona Island

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP, in English) confirmed this afternoon that the incident that caused some 71 people of undefined immigration status to fall on the high seas near Mona Island, west of Puerto Rico, was not a shipwreck, but an event caused by the smugglers who brought them to the island.

The spokesman for the federal agency in Puerto Rico, Jeffrey Quinonesexplained to The new day that when the emergency was reported this morning, the preliminary information indicated that the boat in which the group of people was traveling capsized, so that they all remained on the high seas in the area of ​​Punta Arenas, near the aforementioned island.

The report was made by an official of the experimental station of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DRNA) en isla de Mona.

However, a joint investigation by the federal and state authorities that provided the first response ruled out the possibility of a shipwreck.

“It was not a shipwreck because we were able to verify that the yawl did not capsize. The smugglers basically what they did was force people to jump into the water when they landed there on the beach “Quiñones clarified by telephone.

Asked if the smugglers or people involved were intercepted, the official replied that “this is still under investigation.”

The Coast Guard reported in a press release that DNER personnel on Mona Island recovered five bodies from the water. In total, 66 people survived, of those 41 are men and 25 women, including two minors who are safe.

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Quiñones indicated that they still do not know the nationality of the survivors and the people who perished, but said, at the same time, that “they are most likely Haitians or Dominicans.”

“We are struggling to be able to bring them to the port of Mayagüez and then take them to the border patrol station in Aguadilla,” he added.

Coast Guard watchmen directed the launch of MH-60T helicopters from Borinquen Air Station and dispatched Coast Guard Cutters Joseph Tezanos and Joseph Napier. Customs and Border Protection marine units and the Police FURA unit also responded to the situation.

This is the second time in two months that an emergency has been reported due to the sinking of a Creole boat in which dozens of people migrating to Puerto Rico were traveling. In the May incident near Desecheo, 11 Haitian women died.



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