Key Biscayne

Cuban migrant vessel with 10 aboard stopped near Key Biscayne

When the Coast Guard found six migrants off the Boca Raton coast Wednesday morning, the Cubans said two of their fellow migrants had been missing since sunset on Tuesday.
When the Coast Guard found six migrants off the Boca Raton coast Wednesday morning, the Cubans said two of their fellow migrants had been missing since sunset on Tuesday.

A Coast Guard helicopter first spotted the makeshift vessel about a mile and half off Key Biscayne Thursday afternoon.

Two nearby Coast Guard boats tried to stop the boat with 10 Cuban migrants aboard, but “it wasn’t easy,” Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Somma said.

“They were being noncompliant,” Somma said.

Crews were finally able to take the nine men and one woman into custody after 2 p.m. and give them life jackets, food, water and other supplies.

“Because they were interdicted at sea they will most likely be returned to their origin country,” Somma said.

There has been a surge in recent months in the number of Cuban migrants attempting to come to the United States by sea, Somma said.

“Anything on the water is inherently more dangerous,” Somma said. “And most of the vessels are not seaworthy.”

Last year, 4,473 Cubans attempted to make the journey. So far this year 5,425 have tried to get to the U.S. by water.

Also on Thursday, the Coast Guard announced that a body — believed to be one of two missing migrants — had washed up near Gulf Stream in Palm Beach County. The Coast Guard rescued six migrants from the water Wednesday morning and was told that two more people were missing since Tuesday night.

On Wednesday night, the Coast Guard announced that it had suspended a search for the two migrants off Boca Raton after searching 1,500 square miles.

More than 100 migrants have landed in the Keys since July 12, all of whom were able to stay because they reached dry land.

Miami Herald staff writer Alex Harris contributed to this report.

Carli Teproff: 305-376-3587, @CTeproff

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