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Florida-bound Cuban pregnant women rescued at sea after migrants’ makeshift raft capsized

DAINIA BEACH, Fla. – The state of desperation is such that Cuban pregnant women ventured the high seas in a crowded makeshift vessel in an attempt to get to the United States, deputies said.

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office released a video on Monday showing the raft — with the two pregnant women and six men — took on a large wave and capsized on Sunday near Port Saint Lucie.

MCSO’s Air1 crew found the migrants just south of Waveland Beach. A team of civilians and St. Lucie County deputies and Fire Rescue personnel rescued them and brought them to shore.

The migrants told deputies they were from Cuba, and they had been at sea for more than 16 days. Fire Rescue personnel took them to local hospitals and they were all in stable condition, according to MCSO.

Federal authorities have already stopped more Cuban migrants this 2020-2021 fiscal year, which started in October, than during the entire 2019-2020 fiscal year.

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard rescued five men about two miles southeast of the Lake Worth Inlet. The migrants told the Coast Guard it had been 16 days since they had left Cuba.

On Friday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 13 Haitian migrants and a suspected U.S. smuggler in Dania Beach. Witnesses saw them running out of two boats.

On Feb. 12, the U.S. Coast Guard searched to no avail for two groups of migrants who had vanished at sea. A group of 10 disappeared near the Florida Keys and a group of six off Fort Pierce.

A survivor told a Coast Guard crew who rescued him earlier this month that he spent two days in the water after a boat capsized and the six other migrants who were traveling with him vanished.

That ship had sailed out of the Bahamas. The Coast Guard found a vessel made out of Styrofoam blocks and wood that a group of Cuban migrants sailed out of Havana.

Authorities’ reports on social media

About the Authors:

In January 2017, Hatzel Vela became the first local television journalist in the country to move to Cuba and cover the island from the inside. During his time living and working in Cuba, he covered some of the most significant stories in a post-Fidel Castro Cuba. 

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.