A small boat carrying 18 Cubans reached Riviera Beach about 2 a.m. Wednesday, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.
“It’s 16 men and two women, all of them in good health,” said agent Frank Miller, spokesman for the Border Patrol’s West Palm Beach station.
Miller said that among the Cubans there was a man who was about 70 years old. There were no minors among the passengers.
The boat left Municipio de Manatí, an area in eastern Cuba, on Friday. The yellow boat, nearly 21 feet long, was a “very old fishing boat,” Miller said. Its engine came from an old Soviet automobile, and its sail was propped up by a tree branch. Its hull was cracked and the engine had a fuel leak.
The passengers told the Border Patrol that they ran out of fuel during the journey, but a fishing vessel with a Bahamian flag gave them enough fuel to reach South Florida.
During their voyage, the balseros faced bad weather due to the rain spun off from Hurricane Ernesto.
The 18 migrants were in the Border Patrol’s custody while they filled out the necessary paperwork for their release.
During the past fiscal year, 271 Cubans have arrived by boat in the United States.