KEY LARGO, Fla. – Officials took 113 Haitian migrants into custody after their sailing vessel ran aground off the coast of Key Largo Saturday afternoon.
Photos and video sent in to Local 10 News show a packed sailboat surrounded by boats from multiple law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs & Border Protection Air and Marine Operations division.
Cuyler Brown, who took some of the videos, told Local 10 News he saw hundreds of people coming in on the boats.
“You can see this one sailboat, at first I thought maybe it’s capsizing,” Brown said.
The Coast Guard tweeted that it and “other partner agencies are on scene with a grounded sailing vessel off Ocean Reef” Saturday afternoon.
Photos and video shared with Local 10 News showed what appeared to be people jumping off the vessel and swimming to shore.
Sky 10 flew over the Ocean Reef Country Club at around 6:15 p.m. Images show dozens of suspected migrants sitting in the grass, given blankets or towels. A bus and law enforcement agents were also at the scene.
In a video posted to Twitter, Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar, who heads the agency’s Miami sector, said at the scene that agents are working to keep the migrants “safe, clean, fed and healthy and identify exactly who they are and what they may or may not have wrong with them.”
“This is an ongoing investigation and we are trying to identify the smugglers who crammed these people onto that vessel,” Slosar said.
The search continued Saturday for five missing migrants whose boat capsized in the Straits of Florida Friday. Rescuers recovered the bodies of two of the 15 people aboard.