8 Cuban migrants rescued off coast of Puerto Rico

Group stranded for 2 days at bottom of cliff

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor
Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued eight Cuban migrants from Monito Island, Puerto Rico Wednesday afternoon, following a two-day rescue effort in the Mona Passage.

Authorities said the seven men and woman were spotted Tuesday afternoon by a Coast Guard pilot who was on a routine patrol in the Mona Passage.

Authorities said the group was stranded at the bottom of a 150-foot cliff of the uninhabited island, which is a natural reserve and serves as a bird habitat.

Rescue efforts were placed on hold through the night due to "on-scene conditions" and heavy seas.

The next day the Coast Guard deployed two cutter small boats that worked in coordination with two rescue swimmers to rescue the migrants.

"Our crews did excellent work to save these lives, but this is a stark reminder of how smugglers endanger migrants by taking to the sea and attempting to cross the Mona Passage," said Capt. Michael Zamperini, Acting Sector San Juan commander.

The migrants were transferred to the custody of Customs and Border Protection authorities.

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