Massive air and water search efforts continue after a five day search for missing U.S. Marine in Puerto Rico

LUQUILLO, PUERTO RICO - A massive air and water search rescue has been going on since Wednesday, March 27 for a missing Marine from Massachusetts. Those search efforts continued throughout the weekend and into the first week of April. 

According to a post from the U.S. Coast Guard, first responders are actively searching for Marine Corporal Samuel Wanjiru, who was last seen on Wednesday, March 27 in the beach area of "La Pared" in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan is assisting in the search that is being led by Negociado para el Manego de Emergencias y Administración de Desastress (NMEAD). 

The post said that there were "high surf and life threatening rip currents" that continued to affect the western northern and eastern beaches in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Coast Guard added, "Anyone thinking of visiting the beach is urged to stay out of the water until conditions subside."

Emergency management officials in Puerto Rico stated that a swimmer was rescued at Las Picuas beach in Rio Grande on Saturday, March 30 after being swept away by the sea currents. First responders were able to remove her from the water. Her reported status is stable. Officials said, "We don't want anyone else to lose their lives on our beaches. This week they are not suitable for swimmers. Don't take any chances."

Corporal Wanjiru, who is 26-years-old, is from Worcester, Massachusetts. Coast Guard crews and watchstanders, including a 33-foot aircraft, have been scouring the shoreline for the Marine. As their search efforts ramped up, the United States Marine Corps released a photo of Wanjiru as well as a statement describing him.

The United States Marine Corps spokesperson said, "Wanjiru is a native of Worcester, Massachusetts, and serves as a Motor Vehicle Operator with MWSS-472. At the time of his disappearance, Wanjiru was not in an active-duty status or conducting military operations. 4th Marine Aircraft Wing is concerned for the Marine's welfare and is in communication with Wanijur's family, local authorities, and the U.S. Coast Guard while the search for Wanjiru continues."

According to officials, before Wanjiru was reported missing, the Coast Guard said an MH-60T Jayhawk helicopter crew responded to a report of a person in distress in Montones Beach in Isabela and found a man unresponsive. That man was later pronounced dead.

Captain Jose E. Díaz, commander of U.S. Coast Guard San Juan Sector, said in a statement, "This month has been deadly when it comes to beach drownings in the area of Puerto Rico. During this long holiday weekend, I urge locals and visitors to pay close attention to the weather conditions and warnings from the National Weather Service and that they don't go into the water when visiting beaches in the west, north, and eastern coasts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands until conditions subside."

He said, "There are several hundred miles of open ocean beaches which are extremely dangerous in the present conditions and most do not have lifeguards. People need to realize that the situation is serious enough to limit our ability to respond to search and rescue cases with surface vessels without further endangering our crews and assets."

U.S. Coast Guard Public Affairs Officer Ricardo Castrodad said, "You're talking about sea state conditions of 10-to-12-foot seas and life-threatening rip currents. Imagine us not being able to go out and rescue someone with a surface asset. That's how seriously bad these weather conditions are."
 
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Comments

Stan

"...Wanjiru was not in an active-duty status..."? Sure seems he is on active duty. If not, he would be described as "Marine veteran". The article does not say why he is in Puerto Rico, just that he is a Marine. I conclude he must be assigned close by. May be wrong.

John

Because he is apart of the 4th Marine air wing MWSS-472.Also looking at his awards, you can see he is wearing a reserve good conduct medal. Which would make him a reserve Marine. The 4th Marine Air wing is compromised of Active, Active Reserve, and Reserve Marines.

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