The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 43 Dominican Republic refugees trying to enter Puerto Rico illegally in an overloaded boat that drifted for four days at sea without food or water, a spokesman said Sunday.
Petty Officer Reginald Reese said 27 men, 14 women and two children were spotted late Saturday aboard the open 30-foot wooden boat. Three passengers, including one pregnant woman who was hospitalized, were severely dehydrated, said Reese.
Crew members of the Coast Guard cutter Papaw, a buoy-tender based in Charleston, S.C., found the boat about 20 miles northwest of the island of Mona, roughly halfway across the channel that separates the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico.
The passengers were brought to San Juan, where they were turned over to federal Immigration and Naturalization Service officials.