Two dozen Cuban migrants reached the Florida Keys in two separate arrivals this week, but one man reportedly was lost at sea.
A U.S. Coast Guard search ended Tuesday night for a man who disappeared from a “chug” off the Lower Keys. Eleven Cuban men reached reached shore on Big Pine Key after leaving Cuba on Thursday. The survivors told officials that “one man was separated from the group after entering the water Saturday.”
The Coast Guard cutter Kathleen Moore, based at the Key West station, and a Coast Guard aircraft from Miami were searching for the missing man, Lt. Katherine Webb said Tuesday.
In late September, 20 Cuban migrants died or disappeared after a disastrous attempt to cross the Florida Straits. Three men survived after their makeshift boat sank. Five bodies were recovered off the Florida Keys but the remaining 15 people aboard vanished and are presumed dead.
On Monday, a battered sailboat with 13 people aboard came ashore at Key Colony Beach. The migrants were taken for processing by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. No injuries or fatalities were reported from that voyage.
So far in October, the Coast Guard has logged 106 Cubans crossing to Florida or being stopped on the way.
In the 12 preceding months, the agency counted 7,411 Cubans, up 65 percent from the 4,473 people found in the previous year, Petty Officer Eric Woodall said Tuesday.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206