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U.S. Coast Guard intercepts Cuban migrants off Elliott Key

17 migrants expected to return to Cuba

ELLIOTT KEY, Fla. – A group of Cuban migrants abandoned a make-shift boat Tuesday afternoon and boarded a U.S. Coast Guard vessel near Elliott Key.

Sky 10 was above the crowded makeshift boat just after 12:30 p.m. as a Miami-Dade Marine Patrol boat was approaching the boat.

A total of 17 migrants, including three women, continued to flee from authorities as Miami-Dade police, the Coast Guard, Homeland Security and National Park Service authorities followed closely.

Several men threw their oars into the water just before 1 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard persuaded them to board its boat without a struggle. 

"We were able to safely embark, so they are waiting disposition," Officer Eric Woodall from the U.S. Coast Guard said. "They'll be transported to a Coast Guard cutter, and they'll eventually likely be repatriated to Cuba."

All of the migrants were said to be in good health.

Under the "wet foot, dry foot" policy, the migrants would have qualified for refugee status had they reached land.

With the renewed relations between the U.S. and Cuba, there has been a spike in the number of Cuban migrants who are risking their lives in the Straits of Florida. 

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