Coast Guard Searching for Worcester Marine in Water Off Puerto Rico Beach

Cpl. Samuel Wanjiru, 26, was visiting the island with his family, according to the Coast Guard. On Wednesday afternoon, he was reported to be in distress after going into the water in the beach area of “La Pared” in Luquillo, Puerto Rico.

The search involves Coast Guard aircraft and multiple Puerto Rican agencies.

A written statement from the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing said Wanjiru disappeared off the coast of Puerto Rico while visiting the island with friends.

Wanjiru, a native of Worcester, Massachusetts, is a reserve Marine assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadro 472, Marine Aircraft Group 49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, in Chicopee.

He served as a motor vehicle operator with MWSS-472. The 4th Marine Aircraft Wing said Wanjiru was not in an active-duty status or conducting military operations at the time of his disappearance.

High surf and dangerous rip currents were reported along the Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands coastlines. The U.S. Coast Guard issued a warning about the conditions to beachgoers and boaters in the region.

The 4th Marine Aircraft Wing has been in communication with Wanjiru’s family, local authorities, and the U.S. Coast Guard while the search for Wanjiru continues.

On Wednesday, the Coast Guard said it also was alerted to a person in distress at Montones Beach in Isabela, Puerto Rico. That man was recovered and declared deceased as a helicopter crew was responding.

“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. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost their loved ones to the sea, we hope they find strength during this most difficult time,” said Capt. Jose E. Díaz, Commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan.

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