MIAMI – The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted a 35 foot boat on Sunday that had 103 migrants from Haiti on it, officials confirmed. The migrants told officials they spent six days at sea.
The boat was found roughly 18 miles east of Biscayne Bay and was called in by a Good Samaritan.
“There were way too many people on board,” said Petty Officer Ryan Estrada, USCG public affairs specialist.
Coast Guard officials confirmed Monday that crew members safely transferred the migrants onto the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge.
Officials said the migrants received food, water, shelter and basic medical attention.
There were no reported medical concerns, despite their long and dangerous journey.
“Yeah, it was a little surprising that we didn’t have any health concerns,” Estrada said.
A recent earthquake and political turmoil are providing Haitians with strong reasons to want to leave, but the Coast Guard says a journey like this is never worth it.
“Our message is, ‘Don’t take to the sea in any shape or form. It’s always dangerous. Water conditions can change on a moments notice. Weather conditions can change on a moments notice and we advise don’t do it,’” Estrada said.
According to officials, each migrant is being interviewed so authorities can determine whether they qualify for asylum or if they will be repatriated to Haiti.
Officials said the boat the migrants were on was brought to land and destroyed.