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Press Release | April 1, 2024

Coast Guard suspends search for U.S. Marine off Luquillo, Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Coast Guard rescue crews suspended search efforts in support of local emergency response agencies for a 26-year-old U.S. Marine in Luquillo, Puerto Rico, Sunday.

Still missing is Cpl. Samuel Wanjiru, a resident of Mass., who came into distress Wednesday afternoon in the beach area of “La Pared” in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

“We keep Cpl. Samuel Wanjiru and his family in our prayers, hoping they find strength and closure during this most difficult time,” said Capt. Jose E. Diaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan commander. “The loss of life in Puerto Rico beaches during March has been quite surreal, including the loss of two servicemembers. I commend the efforts of all responders, who have done their utmost to find Cpl. Wanjiru and who have also responded to numerous cases this month resulting in dozens of lives saved, while also conducting efforts to prevent any further loss of life in our beaches. Unfortunately, we continue to face similar marine conditions and it’s imperative we remain ready and that beachgoers stay safe daily by monitoring weather advisories and heeding warning signs and red flag conditions to stay out of the water when necessary.”

Since search efforts began Wednesday, Coast Guard air and surface units conducted 14 air and one surface searches, covering a span of 264 square nautical miles.  Coast Guard crews worked alongside the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau who served as the lead agency for search effort coordination, multiple Municipal Offices of Emergency Management, Puerto Rico Police, Puerto Rico Police Joint Forces of Rapid Action and other local agency responders.

Coast Guard assets involved in the search:

  • MH-60T Jayhawk helicopters from Air Station Borinquen
  • HC-144 Ocean Sentry fixed-wing aircraft
  • 33-foot Special Purpose Craft from Station San Juan
  • Coast Guard Sector San Juan watchstanders

During March, Coast Guard Sector San Juan assumed Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator for five cases that resulted in 12 lives saved, and five other cases that resulted in six drownings. In separate cases, Coast Guard Sector San Juan was notified of 24 persons being saved by local agency responders.

Vessels and facility operators, recreational boaters and people conducting water activities in the ocean, should pay close attention and monitor National Weather Service Advisories and take appropriate action to minimize the risks associated with the persisting High Surf and Rip Current conditions that are affecting the western, northern, and eastern beaches of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For your latest National Weather Service Advisory for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands visit:

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