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Pics: 34 migrants in sinking boat saved by US Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Winslow Griesser, homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, transits toward the pier in Bridgetown, Barbados, June 7, 2017. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Leake)
November 17, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 34 migrants last Friday after a good Samaritan reported a boat sinking off the coast in Florida. Upon arrival, the Coast Guard discovered 34 migrants clinging to the partially submerged boat.

According to a statement released on X, formerly Twitter, U.S. Coast Guard Southeast crews were able to rescue the 34 migrants from the “sinking vessel” roughly 8 miles south of Key Colony Beach in Florida.

Stars and Stripes reported that a Coast Guard Station Marathon crew was dispatched to the ship, which a law enforcement source said was located approximately 20 miles off the shore of the Middle Keys city of Marathon. Petty Officer Ryan Estrada, a Coast Guard spokesman, told Stars and Stripes that the crew was able to successfully get all of the migrants out of the water. “All are accounted for,” Estrada said.

The Coast Guard’s statement on social media explained, “They were transferred to a Coast Guard cutter where they will be provided food, water & basic medical attention before being repatriated.”

Shortly after the initial post on social media, the Coast Guard added, “There were no reported injuries or unaccounted-for persons in the water, and the identities and nationalities of the 34 migrants will be determined prior to repatriation or transfer.”

Katie Lewis, co-owner of Main Attraction Sportfishing Charters, told CNN that Captain Mary Lewis witnessed the sinking of the migrant vessel and reported the ship to the local authorities.

READ MORE: Video: Hundreds of migrants charge across the border

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard provided an update on social media, confirming that the migrants had been repatriated to Cuba.

“Cutter Charles Sexton’s crew repatriated 33 migrants to #Cuba, Tuesday. 1 migrant was medevac’d,” the Coast Guard stated.

The Coast Guard also provided a warning to other potential migrants considering illegal attempts to cross into the United States. “Our maritime borders are NOT open to irregular, unlawful migration,” it stated. “Migrants will be rescued & repatriated to their country of origin or departure.”