The executive director of Institute of Forensic Sciences (ICF), Mary Conte Millerreported this morning that it will carry out the autopsies of 11 bodies recovered yesterday in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean after the shipwreck of a boat in which a group of undocumented immigrants was traveling to the island.
The official confirmed that the bodies correspond to women and that the analysis will be done through the use of CT Scan Post Mortem technology, as well as through deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests.
“We have formed a work team in a special shift to carry out today all the autopsies of the people who died in the shipwreck. We take the necessary precautions so that our regular operation is not affected. Regular shift colleagues will work on the other cases scheduled for today,” Conte Miller explained in a press release.
“We established communication with the Consulate of the Dominican Republic in Puerto Rico in an effort to locate the families of the deceased and achieve their identification,” he added.
The shipwreck occurred yesterday, Thursday, at about 10 nautical miles north of Desecheo Island. The spokesman for Customs and Border Protection (CBP, in English), Jeffrey Quinoneshe specified this morning, to questions from The new day, that 31 people recovered alive: 11 of them women and 20 men. Asked if there are minors among the survivors, the official answered no.
At the time, he explained that 29 of the survivors are from Haiti and two from the Dominican Republic.
Given this, Conte Miller mentioned that people who understand that they had a family member traveling on the shipwreck can call 787-765-0615 to corroborate identities with the agency’s team of interviewers.
Search and rescue operational complex
The press spokesman for the Coast Guard of San Juan, Ricardo Castrodad, indicated that the search and rescue operation continues this morning, given the question of whether there are more bodies or survivors in the water.
“We are going to continue the search in the hope of finding more survivors, given the benefit of the doubt. Every time that passes that (finding more survivors) is more difficult and the search expands and becomes more complicated. We hope that this morning the conditions will be a little more favorable and allow us to have more success in that particular“, the official said by phone.
“The mission is complex due to the distance from the shore, from where this incident occurred. We are talking about 10 miles north of Desecheo and you already know that this island is very far from the west coast of Puerto Rico and that is already very complicated,” she added.
Currently, the operation is carried out through a joint effort of multiple agencies such as: the CBP, the United Rapid Action Forces (FURA), the Coast Guard, Emergency Medical Personnel and the Emergency Management Bureau.
“A C130 plane from the Clearwater air station (in the state of Florida), arrived yesterday afternoon and joined the search efforts. This is a long-range aircraft that can fly over the area and has a greater search capacity than helicopters and ships,” Castrodad pointed out.
At the time of this publication, there was still no precision about how many people were traveling on board the boat, which, the authorities presume, was making an illegal trip.