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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Coast Guard Finds Missing Boater

Alejandro Lopez, the 24-year-old St. Thomas boater who had been the subject of a weekend Coast Guard search effort involving aircraft and ships, was found Monday, disoriented but otherwise well, the Coast Guard reported.

According to the news release, Lopez was found on Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, wandering and disoriented. The citizens who found him brought him to a nearby restaurant where the owner called Coast Guard watchstanders. Local police responded to the scene and confirmed the man to be Lopez.

“This case highlights the importance for boaters to file a float plan or let someone they trust know where they are headed and when they are expected to return from their boating trip,” said Lt. Cmdr. Catherine Phillips, Sector San Juan Command Center supervisor. “This is time-sensitive information that helps save lives, especially when searching for vessels and boaters who are missing, overdue or in distress.”

Lopez’s father had contacted the Coast Guard Saturday afternoon, reporting that he had not seen or heard of his son since Thursday. He reportedly was seen Thursday aboard a dinghy in Hull Bay, St. Thomas, and had last been seen Friday by another boater off Culebrita Island, Puerto Rico. That boater told authorities he had spoken to Lopez and provided him with gasoline.

The Saturday and Sunday search involved an MH65D Dolphin helicopters from Air Station Borinquen, the Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser, a Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry maritime patrol aircraft, Coast Guard Auxiliary fixed-wing aircraft and a Civil Air Patrol fixed-wing aircraft. 

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