$1.2m spent on search for Puerto Rican man found in hiding

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — For three days, authorities combed the turquoise waters north of Puerto Rico in search of Harold Carrión, 23, whose mother reported him missing earlier this week and feared drown on a popular beach.

The US Coast Guard said it scoured an area roughly half the size of US territory as police, divers, emergency management officials and others took part in a search that began on Tuesday and cost over $1.2 million.

But Carrión turned up alive on Friday after police received an anonymous tip and said they found him hiding in an abandoned structure in the northern coastal town of Arecibo. His mother had earlier said that Carrión climbed rocks near the ocean and fell into them.

Police arrested Carrión, but it was not immediately clear if he had been charged with anything. He was supposed to have appeared in court this week on unrelated charges.

The Coast Guard shouldered much of the search expenses — $1 million — after sending two helicopters, a cutter and a boat from Puerto Rico and an airplane from Miami. Local authorities, meanwhile, said they spent some $200,000.

Nino Correa, who oversees Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, told a news conference he was saddened and outraged by the turn of events.

“The full weight of the law has to be on this type of person,” he said, adding that crews were exposed to dangerous sea conditions and bad weather.

Coast Guard search and rescue coordinator Alberto Martínez said he shared the outrage.

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