(CMR) Ten Cuban migrants attempting to flee to the US are dead after a boat they were traveling on capsized 50 miles off the Florida Keys last week.
The US Coast Guard announced Monday night that it was suspending a search for people who were on the boat.
The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Pablo Valent rescued nine people and found one body on Saturday. Five more bodies were found on Sunday and Monday by Coast Guard crews, the Miami Herald reported.
Survivors also told the Coast Guard they saw four people “immediately drown” when the boat capsized, which is the number of people for whom the Coast Guard searched.
According to one migrant who was rescued by a boater, that was the second of two boats filled with migrants from Cuba. The person said the first boat “with a large group of people” capsized and he was the only one who survived. He was reportedly picked up by another boat that had 18 Cuban migrants. Some of them had life jackets.
“Very rarely do we see people on these illegal voyages wear safety equipment. And, that certainly saved their lives in treacherous sea conditions. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of those who are presumed lost at sea,” Coast Guard Cmdr. Richard Armstrong, Sector Key West’s deputy sector commander, told Miami Herald.
A large number of Cuban migrants have been fleeing their homeland, many landing in the Cayman Islands. A large number aims to arrive in the United States; however, with recent agreements, many are expected to be repatriated home.