Florida Keys

Coast Guard suspends search for missing Cuban migrants near the Florida Keys

The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search Tuesday for a group of Cuban migrants who were reported missing this week.
The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search Tuesday for a group of Cuban migrants who were reported missing this week. EL NUEVO HERALD

The Coast Guard suspended its search Tuesday night for a group of Cuban migrants who were reported missing this week near the Florida Keys.

Crews searched more than 9,300 square miles in the Florida Straits after three Cuban migrants — who were found on an island near Big Pine Key Sunday — told authorities that they left Cuba Sept. 20 with 23 people aboard a vessel.

The vessel, they said, capsized Sept. 21.

On Saturday, three bodies were located 23 miles southeast of Islamorada. The Coast Guard said Tuesday that all three people were confirmed as being part of the group. A woman’s body was found Monday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission near Big Munson Island and also confirmed as being part of the group.

A man’s body was found Saturday by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office from Ramrod Key, but the Coast Guard had not yet confirmed he was part of the group.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic case,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District, in a news release. “It is an unfortunate reminder that the sea can be unforgiving for those who are ill prepared on illegal and unsafe voyages.”

Meanwhile, the families of the missing migrants were waiting for any information on their loved ones, the Keynoter reported.

“They’ve been gone for a long time,” Norma Rayneri of Miami told the paper. Rayneri said she was seeking information on a 57-year-old relative who planned to “escape” from the island Sept. 20. “People are desperate to find out.”

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff

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