On Tuesday, February 9, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued three Cubans — two men and a woman — that had been stranded on a deserted Bahamian island for 33 days.
According to Military Times, on Monday, February 8, a Coast Guard helicopter was flying a routine mission off of the Florida Keys. When it flew over the deserted Anguilla Cay, it noticed a group desperately flying flags in order to be seen by the helicopter crew. Anguilla Cay is a Bahamian island located between Key West and Cuba.
Coast Guard helicopter pilot, Mike Allert, told WPLG, “We were alerted to them by the flags that they actually had in addition to a large cross that they put out there for themselves.”
Allert swung the helicopter back around to investigate. Without supplies and a way to communicate, another Coast Guard helicopter was dispatched to the group to drop them supplies and a radio.
The following day, a helicopter rescued the individuals.
The group reported that their boat had capsized in rough seas and that they had swum to the island. Once on the island, it was reported that they survived off conchs, coconuts, and rats.
After being rescued, they were transported to the Lower Keys Medical Center. No one was seriously hurt.
At this time, it is not clear whether the Cubans were trying to migrate to the United States or just traveling, reported Petty Officer Second Class Brandon Murray.
Murray said, “I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island. That is a new one for me.”
Coast Guard Actively Searching for Six People off Florida Coast
Florida Coast Guard units are staying busy. According to the Associated Press, the Coast Guard began searching for six individuals on Friday, February 12, after a Jamaican national was rescued off of Fort Pierce, FL.
The individual reported that their 18-foot boat had capsized on Wednesday, 23 miles offshore of Fort Pierce. The survivor reported that he was on board with six other individuals. They had been traveling from Bimini, Bahamas.
As of yesterday, the Coast Guard had dispatched three cutters and an airplane and were still actively searching for the missing crew.