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33 Cuban migrants rescued off Boca Raton

33 Cuban migrants rescued off Boca Raton
BY ALFONSO CHARDY ACHARDY@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM
10/29/2014 11:23 AM 10/29/2014 5:25 PM

Thirty-three Cuban men were rescued from the water by U.S. Coast Guard
crews Wednesday morning after they jumped off a boat that was taking on
water off Boca Raton in southern Palm Beach County.

A Coast Guard spokesman said the incident occurred about seven miles
east of Boca Raton in the Atlantic Ocean.

The rescue came two days after 13 Cuban rafters attempted to reach Miami
in a makeshift boat that broke apart near the Turkey Point nuclear power
plant. Eleven of the migrants were rescued or made it safely to land.
The Coast Guard suspended its search for two more who were still missing
Wednesday.

“Upon our assets arriving on scene, the suspected migrants were taken
aboard a Coast Guard boat and safely transferred to a Coast Guard Cutter
for basic medical attention if needed,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.

A boat suspected of carrying 33 migrants floats seven miles east of Boca
Inlet. The boat apparently took on water and the migrants jumped into
the ocean where they were rescued. | Coast Guard

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News of the 33 migrants in the water off Boca Inlet immediately raised
questions about whether this was the second group of Cuban migrants said
to be traveling to Miami from Mariel, a Cuban port west of Havana.

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, leader of Miami-based Democracy Movement, said he
was contacted by a member of the Cuban exile community Tuesday asking
for information about a boat carrying 23 Cuban migrants that left nine
days ago from Mariel.

Coast Guard officials said they did not know if the boat had left from
Mariel.

The 13 Cubans who attempted to reach Miami Monday departed more than 10
days ago from Cojimar in Cuba.

Five of those Cubans were held aboard a Coast Guard cutter and likely
will be returned to the island. The six others who reached land or were
brought ashore likely will be allowed to stay.

Under the so-called wet foot/dry foot policy, Cuban migrants interdicted
at sea are generally returned to the island while those who reach U.S.
soil get to stay.

Sánchez and relatives of some of the rafters who arrived Monday were on
two boats in Biscayne Bay conducting their own search for the two
missing Cubans. By telephone from his boat, Sánchez said they were
searching in waters where the rafters’ boat broke apart Sunday near the
Turkey Point nuclear plant in South Miami-Dade.

All of the 33 migrants plucked from the water off Boca on Wednesday
never reached land. They were all being held on a Coast Guard vessel
Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

A Coast Guard statement said the 33 migrants “jumped in the water from
their grossly overloaded vessel 7 miles east of Boca Inlet.”

The migrants in the water were initially spotted by the crew of a Coast
Guard C-130 searching for the two missing Cubans from Monday’s arrival.

The Coast Guard dispatched the cutters Shrike and Robert Yered as well
as search and rescue boats from bases in Fort Lauderdale and Lake Worth
Inlet.

Source: 33 Cuban migrants rescued off Boca Raton | The Miami Herald –
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article3438485.html

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