Passenger videos show migrants being rescued at sea by Carnival cruise ship

Officials see 470-percent increase in migrants heading to South Florida

Video captured by a Carnival Cruise passenger shows the moments a group of migrants stranded at sea are rescued.

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Video captured by a Carnival Cruise passenger shows the moment a group of migrants stranded at sea were rescued last week.

An announcement went out Friday as the ship was heading back to Port Miami, saying that the ship had to turn around after a boat carrying 12 migrants believed to be from Cuba had been spotted.

“They were at sea for five days, not to mention that they probably didn’t have food,” passenger Marilyn Rivera said. “They didn’t hear from their family. There was no way for them to communicate with their loved ones.”

The cruise ship stopped to help, and in one of the videos captured by Rivera, passengers cheered on the rescue efforts.

“I never, never expected this to happen, but I’m glad that we did what we did,” Rivera said.

This is one of many attempts by Cuban migrants to make it to the South Florida shoreline.

A group of migrants from Cuba was rescued at sea by crew members of a Carnival cruise ship.

Sunday morning, 21 Cubans were taken into custody in two separate landings in the Florida Keys.

On Saturday, a Coast Guard crew repatriated 83 Cubans to Cuba following several recent interdictions off the Florida Keys.

For passengers onboard the Carnival Sunrise, the scene on Friday was emotional.

“When they were fed and all that, the captain made a second announcement that they needed to contact the Coast Guard,” Rivera said.

A spokesperson from Carnival released the following statement Monday to Local 10 News:

“The crew on Carnival Sunrise rescued 12 men who were drifting on a small boat south of Key West. After helping the stranded men on board and contacting United States Coast Guard officials, Carnival Sunrise rendezvoused with the cutter ‘Dauntless’ overnight. All 12 men were transferred to the USCG cutter.”

Since the beginning of October, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 1,800 migrants in South Florida -- most from Cuba -- marking a 470-percent increase from the same time last year.


About the Authors:

Reporter Rosh Lowe has been covering news for nearly two decades in South Florida. He joined Local 10 in 2021.

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.