Coast Guard rescue crews ended a four-day search Saturday for possible survivors of a migrant vessel, which reportedly capsized sometime between the night of July 9 and morning of July 11 in waters between the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten.
Search efforts by rescue crews yielded no signs of additional survivors.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those lost in this tragic incident," said Capt. Robert Warren, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan.
Two Saint Maarten and two Cuban migrants who were traveling aboard the capsized vessel were rescued by a Good Samaritan vessel Monday in waters south of Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands and transported to Virgin Gorda, where they were transferred to island authorities.
Rescue units searched more than 70 hours and completed 20 search patterns covering 10,538 square nautical miles, an area approximately the size of the state of Maryland, according to a Coast Guard statement.
Coast Guard watch in Sector San Juan was told by BVI authorities and family members Wednesday morning of the vessel capsized at sea. One of the survivors reported the vessel departed Saint Maarten July 9 on a trip to St. Thomas.
The vessel was reportedly carrying 15 Cubans, one Colombian, a Dominican Republic national and two persons from Saint Maarten when it capsized after the vessel started taking on water.
An HC-130 aircraft, a long-range search and rescue plane with a team of pararescue jumpers flew from Patrick Air Force Base to help the search Friday, while a WC-130; the same type of plane used by the Hurricane Hunters, from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard searched Saturday. The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard supported search efforts with a maritime patrol aircraft, while V.I. Search and Rescue units in the British Virgin Islands and National Park Service Rangers in Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands searched shorelines for possible survivors.
Coast Guard Sector San Juan Command Center asked anyone with information on the case to contact them at 787-289-2041.