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Migrant vessel from Cuba sinks before reaching land in the Keys

All seven aboard were rescued by the U.S. Border Patrol, which means they’ll likely be sent back to Cuba.
A boat that ferried seven Cubans to the Florida Keys floats in Boot Key Harbor in the city of Marathon on Tuesday.
A boat that ferried seven Cubans to the Florida Keys floats in Boot Key Harbor in the city of Marathon on Tuesday. [ U.S. Border Patrol ]
Published Jan. 13

A homemade boat with seven people from Cuba on board began to sink shortly before it reached land in the Florida Keys Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

The vessel’s passengers survived unharmed, but unfortunately for them, their rescuers were U.S. Border Patrol agents, and they will likely be sent back to Cuba.

The boat arrived in the Middle Florida Keys city of Marathon about 9:30 a.m., the agency said.

“The group was safely recovered,” Chief Patrol Agent Thomas G. Martin said in a statement released on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.

Six men and a boy were on the boat, said Agent Adam Hoffner with the Border Patrol’s Miami Sector.

They left Matanzas, Cuba, two days ago, Hoffner said.

“Thankfully, the seven individuals were safely recovered and did not suffer any injuries during the event.,” Hoffner said in an email. “Their vessel took on water throughout the trip and eventually became submerged. We continue to warn migrants of the dangers associated with traveling by sea.”

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the migrants arrived in Boot Key Harbor, a natural anchorage located on the ocean side of Marathon. The harbor is a popular spot for people who live on their boats.

The federal government tallies migrant stops and arrests by fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. The Coast Guard said Monday that 47 people have been caught so far this fiscal year trying to enter the U.S. by sea illegally through South Florida.

This number did not include Tuesday’s arrest.

They left Matanzas, Cuba, two days ago, Hoffner said.

“Thankfully, the seven individuals were safely recovered and did not suffer any injuries during the event.,” Hoffner said in an email. “Their vessel took on water throughout the trip and eventually became submerged. We continue to warn migrants of the dangers associated with traveling by sea.”

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the migrants arrived in Boot Key Harbor, a natural anchorage located on the ocean side of Marathon. The harbor is a popular spot for people who live on their boats.

The federal government tallies migrant stops and arrests by fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. The Coast Guard said Monday that 47 people have been caught so far this fiscal year trying to enter the U.S. by sea illegally through South Florida.

This number did not include Tuesday’s arrest.

And, some don’t survive.

In early November, a group of 17 men left Cardenas in the northwestern part of the country on a small fishing boat. They were never seen or heard from again, even after the U.S Coast Guard undertook an extensive eight-day search.