More than two dozen Cuban migrants who traveled to the Florida coast in a makeshift wooden boat with hopes of a better life have been rounded up, hours after they landed and jumped from the ship in search of cover.
The U.S. Coast Guard said that 27 migrants, including some children, made it to the Virginia Key, Miami coast around 1.30pm on Sunday then made a run for it.
According to the migrants, they started their journey on September 27 and traveled for 10 days in the tiny boat that took three weeks to build by hand, and they got lost along the way.
On Sunday 27 migrants landed in Miami, Florida after spending days traveling in a rickety, wooden boat from Cuba. The migrants made a run for it, but 15 were detained hours later
Police were soon alerted and a massive air and land search was launched for the migrants. As of Sunday evening 15 of the 27 were detained
Police made their arrests shortly after the migrants landed at Virginia Key around 1.30pm on Sunday after spending days in the ocean
The U.S. Coast Guard said 15 of the 27 were arrested and a search is ongoing for the others
The boat was tiny and painted red. Inside water was seen on the floor as well as strewn clothing items, empty water bottles, and a shoe – discarded items left behind as the migrants rushed onto the beach.
‘There’s like 20, 30 people inside the boat and they are all getting out. Those people have been out there for eight days,’ witness Juan Montoya told local news station
‘They got lost and they were thinking about turning back, they actually turned back. And after like a day they were like you know what, let’s turn aback around and just see where we can get,’ he added.
After they hit land, they were spotted by people along the coast and police were alerted soon afterwards.
The migrants departed from Cuba on September 27 in a small boat that took three weeks to build and despite getting lost they managed to make it to the Florida shore
A look inside the boat reveals the grim and dirty conditions they traveled in with the hopes of making it the U.S. with the hopes of a better life
U.S. Border Patrol announced that they had arrested 15 of the migrants by Sunday evening
Police and U.S. Border Patrol launched a massive search effort deploying helicopters and K-9 officers to hunt for the migrants
Some witnesses on the scene sat and ate with migrants. Local Alex Fernandez and his friends even put two migrants in their car and tried to drive them to safety before they were caught.
A massive search conducted by multiple agencies including U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Miami police shut down the Virginia Key area and searched for the migrants by land and air with helicopters and using K-9 officers.
Thirteen migrants were immediately detained and treated on the beach by paramedics from the Miami Fire Rescue. None were transported to hospitals.
By Sunday evening 15 of the 27 were caught and held in Dania Beach Border Patrol Station where they will be processed then likely deported back to Cuba.
‘Everybody comes here for a better opportunity…just for a better life,’ Montoya said.