POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Authorities have detained at least 16 migrants who came ashore in Pompano Beach Thursday morning.
Sky 10 was above the scene near Southeast 28th Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard shortly after 9:30 a.m. where a white boat was spotted nearby pressed against the seawall.
One handcuffed migrant told Local 10 News reporter Saira Anwer that he is from Jamaica and first traveled to The Bahamas before heading to South Florida.
“There’s killing going on there. We want a better life. No life in Jamaica right now,” he said.
A spokeswoman from the Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed that deputies and marine units responded to the area around 8:45 a.m. in reference to a boat carrying migrants that was nearing the shore.
Department of Homeland Security officials were also called to the scene.
At around 5 p.m., Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released the following statement:
“Today, before 9:00 a.m., U.S. Border Patrol Agents along with local, state and federal partner agencies responded to a maritime smuggling event that made landfall near Pompano Beach, Florida. Agents along with support from partner agencies arrested 16 migrants. Public can report suspicious activity to U.S. Border Patrol by calling 877.772.8146. Homeland Security leads the investigation of the incident.”
David Dube told Local 10 News that he was at the inlet in Pompano Beach when he began recording the boat coming in.
“I noticed this boat coming in,” he said. “It was coming in real slow, zigging and zagging. You could tell something wasn’t right.”
According to multiple witnesses, after crashing, the migrants made a run for it, hiding out in a nearby construction site and empty homes.
However, the migrants were all soon detained and are in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Mary Cheever, who lives nearby, said she was afraid one of the men from the boat was going to enter her house through the open front door, but she says thankfully, that didn’t happen.
“I just saw a man run through our yard,” she said. “It was scary, but I’m just glad that everything is over.”
Another witness, Sean Scullin, says he was shocked by the sounds.
“I was just woken up this morning by sirens and choppers,” he said.
Authorities said the group consisted of migrants from The Bahamas, Romania, Venezuela, Jamaica and the United Kingdom.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there have been 483 migrant interdictions in South Florida since May 1.