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Two Cuban rafters dead and five missing after shipwreck

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MIAMI, United States.- Two Cuban rafters died, five are still missing and eight were rescued this Friday in the Straits of Florida, the United States Coast Guard reported in a release.

The Cubans were traveling in a rustic boat that capsized approximately 14 miles south of Sugarloaf Key. The 15 Cuban rafters left the island with the aim of reaching American shores.

According to the information, of the eight rescued survivors, six were transferred to emergency medical services for a medical evaluation, and two people (who had no health problems), were left in a Coast Guard vessel.

For their part, the bodies of the two drowned people were rescued by officers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The bodies were taken to the local medical examiner’s office, the note reads.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives off the Lower Keys. Our search continues to find others who may have survived this tragic incident,” said Rear Admiral Brendan McPherson, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District.

“This situation highlights the risks these migrants face when trying to enter the US illegally by sea,” he added.

“The Florida Straits can be dangerous even for the best trained and equipped sailors. For people who migrate illegally aboard unseaworthy or overloaded vessels, lacking basic life-saving equipment like life jackets, those risks can often prove deadly.

There are at least seven teams working on the search and rescue of the missing persons.

At the end of last June, the US Coast Guard confirmed that, since October 1, 2021, the date on which the fiscal year began in the United States, at least 39 migrants had lost their lives trying to reach the US. by sea.

This week, between Wednesday and Friday, the Miami Sector Border Patrol attended 12 migrant landings in different Florida Keys. The operations ended with 108 Cuban rafters arrested.

For its part, this Thursday the Mexican Navy rescued three Cubans stranded at sea, near the city of Progreso, in the Yucatan Peninsula. According to the report, the Cubans “were on the verge of succumbing to dehydration while drifting without food less than five miles from Isla Pérez.”

The Mexican Navy said Thursday that the discovery occurred after a call to the Isla Pérez naval detachment, in which it was reported that a fishing vessel had sighted a smaller and vulnerable vessel with three men on board.

The Cuban migration crisis has intensified over the past year, and whether by sea, or through Central America, Cubans continue to flee the island by the thousands.

In the wake of the dramatic increase in illegal migration of Cubans so far this fiscal year, Lt. Cmdr. Mark Cobb, security officer for the United States Coast Guard District Seven, recently said: “We urge families in the United States United to encourage their loved ones to migrate legally.”

“Illegally crossing the unpredictable Florida Straits in crude and improvised boats is very dangerous and can result in loss of life,” he warned.

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