Six people on inner tubes were rescued from the water off the coast of Key Biscayne Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Around 10:20 a.m., a Coast Guard small boat crew out of the Miami Beach station recovered the six people about five to 10 miles off of the key. Four of those rescued were floating on inner tubes, and two were in the water clinging to the flotation devices, according to Coast Guard spokesman Gabe Somma.
The Coast Guard could not yet confirm any further details on those rescued, including their nationality, citizenship status or gender. As of Wednesday midday, the six people were being transferred to a Coast Guard cutter off-shore where they will be questioned and medically evaluated. They appeared to be in good medical condition at the time of rescue, Somma said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be involved in checking the citizenship status of those rescued. If they are illegal migrants, they will be returned to their country of origin, Somma said.
This past year has seen an increase in migrant activity in the Southeast, with Cuban migrant numbers surpassing the previous years and the number of Haitian migrants looking like it will be the same, he said.
“I can’t emphasize enough how dangerous it is to take to the sea,” Somma said. “Illegal maritime migration is dangerous and its deadly. We continue to see lives lost at sea by people undertaking dangerous voyages.”