Coast Guard Rescues 22 Cuban Migrants

MIAMI – Crewmembers from Coast Guard Station Islamorada, Fla., along with U.S. Border Patrol officials, Monroe Country Sheriff’s officers deputies, Islamorada Fire Rescue and Key Largo Fire Department personnel rescued 22 Cuban migrants who were abandoned by migrant smugglers on Tavernier Key Tuesday morning.

Search and rescue coordinators at Sector Key West, Fla., received a report from a Good Samaritan vessel at 7:32 a.m. Tuesday stating they had observed an unknown number of people on Tavernier Key signaling for help.

The Coast Guard immediately dispatched vessels to investigate and once on scene, responding units discovered 22 Cuban migrants stranded in the mangroves of the island. Two migrants were found severely dehydrated.

All 22 migrants were transferred by rescue crews to Coast Guard Station Islamorada and treated by local EMS personnel. One adult male Cuban migrant was transferred to Mariners Hospital in Tavernier Key for additional medical treatment.

“When we find people who have been stranded, in an isolated area without any food or water, it demonstrates the disregard smugglers have for human life,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Chris O’Neil, Seventh District Public Affairs Officer. “Our primary focus is always safety of life at sea, whether we are rescuing migrants from grossly overloaded smuggling vessels operated by nefarious migrant smugglers or, as in this case, rescuing them from dangerous conditions near shore. The common theme is that attempts to enter the United States illegally place undocumented migrants in danger and subjects them to exploitation by migrant smugglers,” said O’Neil.

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