US Coast Guard suspends search for 10 missing Cuban migrants after their boat capsized off Key West

US Coast Guard suspends search for 10 missing Cuban migrants after their boat capsized off Key West
‘The decision to suspend a search is always difficult,’ says Coast Guard commander Adam Chamie. ‘Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones impacted by this tragedy’

The United States Coast Guard has suspended the search for 10 Cuban migrants who went missing after their boat capsized near Key West, Florida last week.

Authorities say they kept up the search for 123 hours, covering almost 9,000 square miles, before deciding to call it off.

“The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made after careful consideration of all the facts,” Captain Adam Chamie, commander of the Coast Guard’s Key West sector, told Reuters. “Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones impacted by this tragedy.”

Two people died last Thursday after the boat overturned about 18 miles southwest of Key West. The Coast Guard managed to rescue eight other passengers, and began a search for what they believed were 10 others remaining in the water.

The survivors reportedly said they’d set sail from Puerto de Mariel, Cuba on 23 May in an attempt to reach the United States. Four days later, the night before the rescue, their boat capsized.

The Coast Guard said two cutters, four helicopters, one 45-foot rescue boat, and other vessels and aircraft were used in the search.

The US Navy, Air Force, Customs and Border Protection, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission also contributed to the effort.

“The Coast Guard, partner Department of Defense and local agency crews searched continuously the past three days to locate the missing 10 people,” Captain Chamie said, but no one else was found.

The maritime agency says Cuban attempts to reach the US by boat have been increasing in recent years, and the journey is extremely dangerous.

“The Coast Guard does not recommend anyone taking to the seas in vessels that are not seaworthy,” the Coast Guard told CNN. “The vessels are often overloaded, the seas are unpredictable and the risk of loss of life is too great.”

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