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39 Cuban migrants come ashore Sugarloaf Key

Migrants dropped off by boat; 3 taken to hospital

SUGARLOAF KEY, Fla. – Thirty-nine migrants from Cuba were dropped off by a boat Monday night in lower Sugarloaf Key, according to the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Monroe County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Francisco Perez was among the officials who witnessed the group of migrants arrive near Sugarloaf Boulevard and County Road 939A. 

"I have never seen so many at once," Perez said. "They were very happy to see us." 

After spending two days at sea, the Cubans were dropped off by boat on the ocean side of lower Sugarloaf Key, about 20 miles from Key West, about 6:15 p.m.

"They told me they were at sea for two days and the first night they lost all their water," Perez said.

For Perez, this is all too familiar, as he too came to the U.S. from Cuba in a raft in 1994 with four other men.

"When I got on scene they were all nervous, and after that I spoke with them, they were really happy," Perez said. "That was a beautiful experience, definitely."

The migrants were in good condition, but three of them, including a male, a pregnant female and 4-year-old girl, were taken to Lower Keys Medical Center.

Perez said the girl suffered from dehydration and seasickness.

The remaining migrants were turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol.