Search underway after vessel carrying dozens of migrants sinks amid Hurricane Ian

The U.S. Coast Guard is still looking for 16 missing migrants.

October 1, 2022, 11:23 AM

Two people have been found dead in the search for over a dozen missing migrants after their vessel sank off the coast of Florida as Hurricane Ian was moving through the region, authorities said.

U.S. Border Patrol agents responded Wednesday to a migrant landing in Stock Island in the Florida Keys, Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said on Twitter.

Four Cuban migrants had swam to shore after their vessel sank "due to inclement weather," Slosar said.

The U.S. Coast Guard began a search and rescue mission for an additional 23 people, Slosar said.

Crews have so far rescued five people and recovered the bodies of two, authorities said.

Three were rescued Wednesday in the water about 2 miles south of Boca Chica, the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast said.

"They were brought to the local hospital for symptoms of exhaustion and dehydration. Air crews are still searching," the Coast Guard said in an update on Twitter.

Two people were recovered deceased, the U.S. Coast Guard said, as the search for the remaining 16 missing migrants resumed Saturday.

The rescue efforts started amid dangerous weather conditions from Hurricane Ian. The storm made landfall on Florida's west coast Wednesday afternoon as a major Category 4 hurricane, bringing with it powerful winds and life-threatening storm surge.

PHOTO: U.S. Coast Guard cutters are shown in the Florida Straits where they will be able to respond to offshore search and rescue while avoiding the worst of Hurricane Ian.
U.S. Coast Guard cutters are shown in the Florida Straits where they will be able to respond to offshore search and rescue while avoiding the worst of Hurricane Ian.
USCG Southeast

The hurricane's landfall was at about 3:05 p.m. ET near Cayo Costa, an island off the coast of Fort Myers.

The storm brought heavy rains and catastrophic storm surge as it moved through Florida. Dozens have been reported dead in the state due to Ian.

The rescue mission comes after seven migrants from Cuba were taken into custody after making landfall at Pompano Beach, north of Fort Lauderdale, on Tuesday, according to Slosar.

"Do not risk your life by attempting this journey at sea," he said on Twitter. "Storm surge along with King tide can create treacherous sea conditions even after a storm passes."

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