Local December 8, 2011 | 8:02 am

Rough seas halt search for boatpeople, dozens still missing

Nagua, Dominican Republic.- Civilian and military officials on Wednesday suspended the search for dozens of boatpeople missing since Sunday when their makeshift boat broke up en route to Puerto Rico illegally, Efe reports.

In press conference, Civil Defense provincial director Minerva Santos said the search and rescue effort was suspended on high swells in the zone of the mishap, several kilometers from the beach at Matancitas, around 8 miles east of Nagua.

The announcement comes in the wake rejoicing by many people who were already mourning some of missing, but instead received calls from their relatives from Puerto Rico, telling them they arrived safe and sound, rescued by another yola type boat also headed to that island illegally.

Relatives of Ambiórix Duarte, Pedro Marte and Catalina Mejía, who were in the group of those reported missing, said they were contacted from Puerto Rico, to inform them of having arrived there Monday night.

Jose Moline, cousin of two of the three boatpeople, told reporters that the mourning in the houses of two of his relatives turned to celebration as the callers said they are alive.

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