The US Coast Guard said Sunday it had recovered the body of one person after a boat carrying Cuban migrants sank off Little Torch Key in Florida, adding that it had rescued nine people and was searching for five others.
Survivors told rescuers that a total of 19 people were originally in the homemade boat and four drowned immediately after it capsized, Coast Guard spokeswoman Nicole Groll said.
“These boats are too rustic,” Groll said, adding that some of the migrants were wearing life jackets, which helped ensure they could be rescued.
Cuba’s severe economic crisis has led to a massive increase in migration from the island. Some migrants try to reach Florida in rickety boats, though most fly to Central America or Mexico and reach the US border by land.
A record 220,000 Cubans were detained at the US-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022, which ended on September 30. The vast majority were allowed to enter the United States to pursue immigration cases.