HAVANA, May 31st The U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday that it had stopped searching after recovering the bodies of two other immigrants as 10 Cubans were reported missing at sea as they tried to reach the Florida coast.
Members of the Coast Guard “searched continuously for the past three days, trying to locate the ten people who were reported missing,” said Adam Sami, the organisation’s chief western division commander who suspended the search Saturday night.
A team of eight Cubans was rescued by agents at sea on Thursday afternoon, while the bodies of two migrants were recovered overnight.
Survivors said the ship, which sailed Sunday from the port of Mariel in Cuba to the Florida coast, but returned 25 km south of Key West on Wednesday night, and ten comrades are missing, the report said.
Staff from the Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the Office of Customs and Border Protection conducted several searches by air and sea over an area of approximately 14,200 square kilometers.
Cubans usually throw themselves into the sea on dangerous ships that cannot cross the Florida Strait, which earned them the nickname “Balseros”.
Another ship with about 20 people on board sank near the Bahamas last March. Among the passengers were two children and an unknown number of women.
At the time, authorities in Cuba and the Bahamas halted the search after 12 people were found alive and one dead.
As the island faces a severe economic crisis, the number of “balseros” trying to reach the United States has increased.