They suspend the search for Puerto Ricans who would have been shipwrecked near Florida during the passage of Hurricane Ian

They Suspend The Search For Puerto Ricans Who Would Have Been Shipwrecked Near Florida During The Passage Of Hurricane Ian

After almost a week since the mission began, the Coast Guard reported this morning that it suspended the search for the boat in which a Puerto Rican couple would have been shipwrecked near Key West (Key West) in Florida, during the passage of Hurricane Ian on Last Wednesday, September 28.

The search mission was notified on September 30, but since early Wednesday morning Betsy Morales Soto, a native of Camuy, and Omar Millet Torres, from Bayamón, alerted the maritime security branch of the United States Armed Forces that the The anchor of the boat, located in the bay of Key West, broke and that the boat was drifting, Morales Soto’s daughter, Dayramar Johnston, confirmed to El Nuevo Día in a previous interview.

The call was held at a time when the waves were getting worse and the winds were increasing due to the proximity of the category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.


The Public Affairs Officer of the 7th Coast Guard District in Miami, Hansel Pintos, told this outlet that the search and rescue mission began with a helicopter on September 28 and remained active until this morning, when it was determined that There were no more indications that justified the search for Morales Soto and Millet Torres.

“It is a complicated and difficult decision for the Coast Guard, because we know that there are many people involved, family and friends who are hoping to see these people. Normally, the Coast Guard suspends the search when there is no more information that points to where to continue looking,” the officer said by telephone.

The Coast Guard District 7 added, in written statements, that search and rescue units scoured 15,171 square miles in search of the pair, the size of the state of Maryland.

“We send our condolences to the family and friends of Omar Millet Torres and Betsy Morales Soto. The decision to call off a search is never easy, and is only made after considering all available data,” said Lt. Cmdr. Elizabeth Tatum.

Despite suspending the search, the Coast Guard stressed that people with information on the whereabouts of Morales Soto and Millet Torres can contact 1-305-292-8727.

He explained that the search was carried out by air and by sea with Coast Guard rescue ships, MH-65 and MH-60 helicopters, as well as HC-144 and HC-130 planes.

The Coast Guard added that units from the Miami and Clearwater air stations, as well as boats from the Key West station, participated in the search efforts. Units from the United States Navy, officers from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and personnel from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also collaborated.

“It does not mean that they are not going to look for more, but that a point has already been reached where they have already done everything that can be done, taking into account the information that they have so far,” Pintos said.

Asked what theory the Coast Guard considers regarding how Morales Soto and Millet Torres disappeared, Pintos replied that they cannot start from any speculation, only that there are no indications of the Puerto Ricans.

#UPDATE @USCG crews suspended the search for Omar Millet Torres, Betsy Morales, and their dog. If you have any information call Sector Key West via VHF Ch. 16 or 305-292-8727. #HE

— USCGSoutheast (@USCGSoutheast) October 4, 2022

Johnston said Tuesday that he appreciated efforts to share news of the search so more people would join the mission, but requested space for his family in light of the Coast Guard’s decision to call off the search.

Pintos emphasized that, although a direct search for the Puerto Ricans has been suspended, Coast Guard personnel have been instructed to be attentive to any new information that implies reactivating the mission.

“Coast Guard assets are still in that area and they are informed that there are missing people, but there are no assets dedicated only to the search for those people,” he said.

The federal agency urged boaters near the area of ​​the alleged shipwreck to call 1-305-292-8727 or send information through VHF channel 16, in case they spot any boat similar to the couple’s.

Ian made landfall at 3:05 pm on September 28 with maximum sustained winds of 150 miles per hour on Cayo Costa Island, in Lee County, Florida.

It is the 17th major force hurricane (category 3 to 5 on the Saffir-Simpson wind scale) to make landfall or pass within 60 statute miles of Lee County on record.

It is also the strongest hurricane to enter the west coast of Florida in recent history, corroborated by the hurricane track files of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, in English).

The cyclone caused storm surges that exceeded 10 feet in height from the west coast to southwest Florida, including the keys where Morales Soto and Millet Torres would have disappeared.



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