The overturned skiff, whose initial number of occupants is unknown – migrants according to the authorities – was spotted at midday with several people in the water who did not appear to be equipped with life jackets. safety.
The coast guard then dispatched several helicopters and a coast guard boat to the area concerned, about 18 km from the desert island of Desecheo, west of Puerto Rico.
As of 6 p.m. (2200 GMT), rescuers had rescued 11 women and 20 men, according to Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad.
US border police had earlier clarified that they were mainly migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Coast Guard “suspect” the ship “to have undertaken an illegal crossing,” they said in a statement earlier in the day.
The search, which also involves teams from the police and the Puerto Rican coast guard, is continuing, said Ricardo Castrodad.