HIGHLAND BEACH (CBSMiami) – A group of Cuban migrants seeking a better life in America were intercepted near Highland Beach, just south of Delray Beach.
A person onshore, according to the Coast Guard, spotted the people offshore and contacted the Boca Raton Police, who then notified the Coast Guard.
A Coast Guard plane spotted the group about a mile and a half offshore and dropped two life rafts down to them. Three of the group stayed on the raft while the others tried to swim to shore. They were plucked from the water by crew members on arriving Coast Guard boats.
A Boca Raton Police boat responded and picked up the rafters and they were then transferred to a U.S. Coast Guard cutter where the migrants were offered food and water.
Since the nine people didn’t make it back to shore, due to the so-called ‘wet foot, dry foot’ policy, the group will be repatriated.
Border Patrol agents said over the last two days they intercepted 27 migrants who tried to enter the U.S. in Palm Beach County.
“They see, they hear how Americans live, you know, the opportunities that this country gives,” said Maria Prazares a Palm Beach resident, adding, “They all want a piece of this.”
Thursday morning, around 5 a.m., an additional nine migrants were picked up in Tequesta; three were from Haiti, three were from Jamaica, one was from Colombia and one was from French Guyana. The group had been smuggled in from the Bahamas. On Wednesday, nine Haitians were picked up when then came ashore on Palm Beach. A tenth member of the group, a 14-year old girl, didn’t make it. Her body was found on the beach.
“It’s heart wrenching to see that. So we just try to reassure them and show compassion to help them out,” said Lt. Don Taylor of Palm Beach Fire Rescue.