Border Patrol agents, along with Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations, the US Coast Guard, and local law enforcement partners responded to a migrant landing at the Dry Tortugas National Park, approximately 70 miles east of Key West on Sept. 9.
Border Patrol agents encountered 23 Cuban migrants who were stranded on Loggerhead Key after they made landfall on a homemade vessel. The migrants told agents that someone jumped overboard while out at sea and was missing from the group, states a Coast Guard press release.
Coast Guard Sector Key West command center watchstanders launched search and rescue crews. Nearly 24 hours into the search and rescue effort, a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater aircrew located a person in the water about seven nautical miles north of Loggerhead Key on Sunday, Sept. 10.
The Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton crew was diverted to rescue the survivor and transferred the person to a Monroe County Trauma Star aircraft for transportation to medical care, where they remain in stable condition.
“Our agents and law enforcement partners worked diligently over the weekend to ensure these migrants were rescued and provided with immediate care,” said Walter N. Slosar, chief patrol agent for the U.S. Border Patrol. “As we enter the peak of hurricane season, unlawful maritime migration becomes an increasingly dangerous journey across the Florida Straits.”
The 24 total Cuban migrants will be interviewed, processed for removal proceedings and transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody for repatriation.
Anyone who unlawfully attempts to reach the U.S. by sea or who arrives by sea unlawfully will be processed for return to their country of origin or departure, in accordance with U.S. law and policy, the release states.