Florida Keys

Search called off for Cuban migrant in Keys

A search for a missing Cuban migrant was called off late Wednesday after Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission crews combed more than 2,000 nautical miles with no result, according to the Coast Guard.

“We found no evidence as to whether he was still in distress or made it to land,” Petty Officer Mark Barney said Wednesday night.

Authorities received a report about 11 Cuban migrants arriving on Man Key Wednesday. The migrants said two other men had left and were last seen swimming toward Key West. Naval Air Station Key West launched a UH-60 helicopter crew, rescuing one of the migrants off Crawfish Key.

Coast Guard air and boat crews, and members of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, searched for the missing migrant Wednesday to no avail.

Since Oct. 1, the Coast Guard officials estimate, about 2,065 Cubans have attempted to illegally migrate by sea — the total number of at-sea interdictions, landings and disruptions in the Florida Straits, the Caribbean and Atlantic.

“The Coast Guard continues to strongly discourage attempts to illegally enter the country by taking to the sea,” said Capt. Mark Fedor, Coast Guard 7th District Chief of Enforcement. “These trips are extremely dangerous and could lead to loss of life.”