U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for 10 missing Cubans

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended its search for 10 Cuban migrants who went missing last week after their boat capsized 16 miles south of Key West.

Authorities had rescued two women and six men on Thursday and recovered two bodies.

“The Coast Guard, partner Department of Defense and local agency crews searched continuously the past three days to locate the missing 10 people,” Capt. Adam Chamie, the Coast Guard's commander of the Key West sector, said in a statement.

“The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made after careful consideration of all the facts. Our deepest condolences go out to the families and loved ones impacted by this tragedy," he said.

The Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force and other agencies launched a search for the others, but did not locate any of the missing people. Survivors told authorities they left Cuba on Sunday and their vessel sank Wednesday evening.

The search encompassed an area about the size of New Hampshire, the Coast Guard said.

The survivors were found in the water Thursdays while a Coast Guard crew was on routine patrol.

Coast Guard crews have interdicted 308 Cubans at sea since October, 200 of them in the past two months. Only 49 Cubans were interdicted by the agency between October 2019 and September 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic halted travel and prompted lockdowns.

Associated Press, The Associated Press