KEY WEST, Fla. - A Costa Rican man who reportedly had been lost at sea for days was rescued by a private tanker and CBP personnel provided additional assistance until he could be repatriated.
The Costa Rican citizen, 29-year-old Miguel Angulo, told the Overseas Long Beach tanker crew that he had been floating in the water for at least five days. He was then picked up by a U.S. Navy helicopter and flown to a Key West hospital.
His ordeal began when he left the capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica to go on a fishing trip with two friends. Unfortunately, the boat ran out of gas and drifted into international waters, where Angulo claims he fell from the boat.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Key West Port Director Stephen Bausmith was contacted by hospital personnel. The rescued man, who was in surprisingly good condition, now faced a host of problems. He had never been to the United States and had no family in the country. Bausmith coordinated with CBP's Miami Field Office and the Costa Rican Consulate to secure travel documents and air tickets for Angulo’s return trip to Costa Rica.
CBP personnel in Key West went beyond the mere legal processing of the unfortunate man. They arranged with the local community to procure hot meals and clothing for Angulo, and even found a family to house him until he was able to travel.
“It feels good to have been able to help somebody so down on his luck," said Key West Port Director Bausmith. "I’m very proud of the way our officers and our community united to make things a little easier for a fellow human being in distress.”
CBP Office of Field Operations in Florida includes travel and trade facilitation and securing over 1,200 miles of the coastal border. Follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in Florida at @CBPFlorida on Twitter for real-time updates.