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Cuban windsurfer rescued after four days at sea by U.S. Coast Guard

Cuban windsurfer rescued after four days at sea by U.S. Coast Guard
BY DAVID ADAMS
MIAMI Sat Feb 22, 2014 11:21am EST

On Friday afternoon, the man was spotted by a boater on the Marquesas
Keys, an outcrop of small, uninhabited islands about 20 miles west of
Key West, according to U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Peter Bermont.

“He was unable to move himself and the officers had to use his surfboard
to carry him,” Bermont said.

Many Cubans have died trying to cross the Florida Straits separating the
southeast coast of Florida from Cuba and known for its sharks, difficult
currents and sudden squalls.

The windsurfer who completed the crossing, identified as Henry Vergara
Negrin, 24, said he left Jibacoa, Cuba, near Havana at 9 a.m. Tuesday
with two companions on separate boards, according to a report by the Key
West, Florida, police.

Negrin is the first reported Cuban windsurfer to make the treacherous
crossing in two decades. Half a dozen windsurfer attempts were
documented during the 1990s, including Lester Moreno Perez who in March
1990 attempted the crossing aged only 17, and was rescued by a freighter
30 miles from Key West.

Negrin took 9-1/2 hours to make it ashore at Key West’s luxury Reach
Resort. A hotel spokeswoman said guests and a bartender helped him.

Negrin told police his companions’ sails went down and he lost sight of
them four hours into the journey. He said he knew his companions only as
Amando, 28, and Dwarta, 23. Dwarta was found disoriented and drifting
Thursday morning about seven miles south of the Florida Keys, the Coast
Guard said.

(Editing by Grant McCool)

Source: Cuban windsurfer rescued after four days at sea by U.S. Coast
Guard | Reuters –
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/22/us-usa-cuba-migrants-idUSBREA1L0P620140222

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