Nearly 200 Haitian migrants interdicted off Florida Keys – South Florida Sun Sentinel

Nearly 200 migrants from Haiti, including children, were rescued from a packed sail freighter that ended up stuck on a sandbar near Whale Harbor off the Florida Keys on Monday.
A good Samaritan reported the boat off Rodriguez Key about 5 a.m. Monday, the Coast Guard said in a tweet. Guardsmen fought against 6- to 10-feet tall waves and 25 mph winds throughout the day and into the night to get people off.
After crews had started their rescue efforts, the boat struck a sandbar south of Whale Harbor on Monday evening, and the Coast Guard said some people were in the rough waters.
#Breaking @USCG, @CBPAMORegDirSE crews rescued 22 people off an overloaded sailing vessel after a good Sam reported it to Sector KeyWest watchstanders @ 5 am, Mon, off Rodriguez Key. Rescue crews are battling 6-10 ft seas, 25 mph winds to safely remove the people from the vessel. pic.twitter.com/GQcqZo93pz
U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other officials pulled 18 migrants who had fallen into the ocean out of the rough water as they attempted to swim ashore, Miami Sector Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said in a tweet. Coast Guard officials rescued over 180 people, totaling at least 198 people who were aboard the boat.
Photos shared by the Coast Guard earlier Monday show guardsmen holding babies who were rescued.
Officer Jose Hernandez, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard, said by Tuesday afternoon, everyone had been taken off the boat, which is still washed up on the sandbar. Crews were still processing the migrants, he said.
High seas and winds made the rescue effort grueling, as crews worked to rescue people more than 14 hours after the boat was reported to officials.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said that the boat was near Whale Harbor in Islamorada at Mile Marker 84.
“We don’t know if people are injured. We don’t know if people can swim. That’s the downside of these ventures,” Petty Officer Nicole Groll said Monday night as the rescues continued, adding that “very rarely” is there safety equipment on migrant boats.
Since Oct. 1, Coast Guard officials have interdicted 395 Haitian migrants. Last fiscal year, a total of 7,175 Haitian migrants were interdicted, significantly more than the 1,527 in fiscal year 2021. In fiscal year 2020, 418 Haitians were interdicted, according to Coast Guard statistics.
On Saturday, 217 Haitian nationals were turned over to officials in the Bahamas after they were interdicted at sea Thursday near the islands on a “grossly overloaded” 40-foot rustic boat, Coast Guard officials said in a statement. There was “minimal food and water” and no safety equipment on board, Coast Guard District 7 Lt. Peter Hutchison said in the statement.
Twelve Haitian migrants were rescued Wednesday from an uninhabited island near Puerto Rico after spending five days there, where human smugglers abandoned them, according to Coast Guard officials. They were found because of the light from their small campfire.
Dozens have died en route to the U.S. territory this year as the rickety boats they’re crammed into capsize in treacherous waters.
Also on Monday, the Coast Guard called off a search for Cuban migrants who plunged into the sea about 50 miles off Little Torch Key when their boat capsized Saturday. A good Samaritan rescued one person who said he left Cuba on Nov. 13 “with a large group of people,” but that person was the only survivor after it sank, officials said in a statement.
The survivor was picked up by another boat of Cuban migrants with 18 people on board, but that boat sank, too, the Coast Guard said. He and eight others survived. Some survivors told officials they saw four people “immediately drown.” The death toll is 10, and officials recovered six of the bodies.
Officials repatriated a total of 185 Cubans on Tuesday after the interdiction and several others since last week, the Coast Guard said in a statement.
“Coast Guard and our partners are working to stop senseless migration-related deaths at sea by rescuing people in rustic, unsafe vessels,” Coast Guard District Seven Capt. Ben Golightly said in the statement. “Help us by not paying smugglers and encouraging safe, legal migration.”
Since Oct. 1, 2,243 Cubans have been interdicted. In fiscal year 2022, a record-breaking total of 6,182 Cuban migrants were interdicted, a high not seen in years, according to the agency’s statistics.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Copyright © 2022, Sun Sentinel
Copyright © 2022, Sun Sentinel


What's your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure

You may also like

More in:Diaspora

Comments are closed.