Coast Guard suspends search for missing Cuban migrants

Robert YeredMIAMI — The Coast Guard suspended the search Tuesday at 9:49 p.m. for Cuban migrants who were reported missing Monday.

Three Cuban migrants found on an island in the vicinity of Big Pine Key reported they left Cuba on Sept. 20 with 23 people aboard a rustic vessel and that the vessel capsized Sept. 21.

Three bodies located Saturday 23 miles southeast of Islamorada have been confirmed as being part of the group. A woman’s body located Monday by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission near Big Munson Island was also confirmed as being part of the group.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office recovered a man’s body Saturday from Ramrod Key. Determination if the man was part of the group is under investigation.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those who lost their lives in this tragic case,” said Capt. Mark Gordon, chief of enforcement for the Coast Guard 7th District. “It is an unfortunate reminder that the sea can be unforgiving for those who are ill prepared on illegal and unsafe voyages.”

A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 airplane crew, Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crews, the Coast Guard Cutter Robert Yered crew, the Coast Guard Cutter Shrike crew, Coast Guard Station Islamorada boat crews, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the search.

The Coast Guard has searched more than 9,306 square miles since Saturday.

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