Diaspora

‘Surprising and Amazing': Passengers Describe Cruise Ship Migrant Rescue Near Bahamas – NBC 6 South Florida

Vacationers who were aboard a South Florida cruise ship that rescued a group of migrants adrift at sea over the weekend said it was a matter of life or death for the people on the small boat.
Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas rescued 17 Cuban migrants after it encountered a small vessel adrift and in need of assistance, company officials said.
Cristina Brundick was on the ship and she spoke about the moment they brought the migrants to safety.
“It was freezing cold outside. I mean, I just thought to myself, I probably wouldn’t have made it,” she said. “The captain got on, you know, the P.A. system. He was saying that they would have never lived.”

Brundick was on vacation with her friends for a bachelorette party. They were eating breakfast one morning when they noticed something odd far away.
“We saw something in the distance, but we weren’t exactly sure what it was because we’re in the middle of the ocean. We don’t even know where we are,” she said. “So it kept getting a little bit closer, a little bit closer. And then we noticed there was a flag.”
That’s the moment the vacation turned into a rescue mission and a moment she’ll never forget.
“It was actually literally the saddest thing because life had to be so bad for these 17 or 20 people to actually get on a boat with no motor and be at sea for 15 days,” she said.
The captain later thanked the passengers for their understanding and announced the mission had been completed.
“You were able to hear on the radio when it was a successful mission. It was 17 refugees that were from Cuba,” said Lauren Lavarias, who was also on board the cruise ship.
Lavarias said she can’t even imagine what the migrants on that boat without a motor endured to reach freedom.
“They’ve been out to sea for 15 days, she said. “So that’s even before New Year’s. That was surprising and amazing at the same time.”
U.S. Coast Guard officials said that since the migrants were found in Bahamian waters, the island’s government will lead the investigation.
Large numbers of Cuban and Haitian migrants have taken to the sea in recent months to try to reach the U.S. Around 5,000 Cuban migrants have been interdicted at sea since Oct. 1, 2022, compared to 6,100 Cubans intercepted suring the previous 12-month fiscal year, officials said.

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