The U.S Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos rescued 12 Haitians Tuesday, who were left abandoned by smugglers on the rocky cliffs of Monito Cay, Puerto Rico.
According to the Coast Guard, U.S. Border Patrol agents reported a small campfire on the uninhabited natural reserve off Mona Island, Puerto Rico in the middle of the Mona Passage.
The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos diverted to investigate the situation and confirmed there was a group of unidentified people stranded on Monito cay.
A small cutter boat approached Monito as the Haitian group made their way down to the lowest point of the rocky cliff.
A Coast Guard statement said once the small cutter boat was in position, each person on the cliff took turns jumping into the water from where the small boat crew safely recovered them.
Following the rescue, seven men and five women survivors said they had been abandoned on Monito cay for five days.
The Coast Guard provided the survivors with food, water, and primary medical care and transferred them to Puerto Rico Border Patrol agents.
Since the rescue, the Coast Guard reiterated warnings against illegal sea voyages.
“We urge anyone considering taking part in an illegal voyage that they do not take to the sea,” Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos Commander, Lieutenant Henry Ward, stated.
“The dangers of these voyages are quite real, and smugglers will not hesitate to abandon people in very austere and highly dangerous environments like Monito,” Ward asserted.
Headline photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard