The US Coast Guard is leading a “mass rescue effort” to save dozens of passengers after their small boat capsized north of Puerto Rico Thursday.
11 people drowned and 31 others were rescued after the vessel overturned about 11 miles north of the inhabited Desecheo island, according to officials.
“We’re looking to rescue as many people as we can and find as many survivors as we can,” US Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said noting that the quick response helped save lives.
“If not for that, we would not have known about this until someone would have found any sign or received reports from people that their loved ones are missing.”
He added: “They found them early enough that we were able to coordinate a response.”
Last Saturday, nearly 70 migrants were rescued from waters between Hispaniola and American soil.
“These voyages are dangerous. They’re unsafe, they are grossly overloaded…and no lifesaving equipment. It wouldn’t really take much for any of these vessels to capsize,” Castrodad said.