MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two people are dead and 10 others are missing after their boat overturned Thursday near the Florida Keys, officials said.
The U.S. Coast Guard responded to a location about 18 miles south of Key West around 1 p.m.READ MORE: Broward Teachers Concerned As COVID Cases, Hospitalizations Increase
The crew of the Resolute rescued eight people, while the Medium crew pulled two bodies from the water.
“Our responders are focused on the search for survivors,” said Senior Chief Seth Haynes, Key West command center supervisor. “We will continue to search through the night for those reported missing, and if any mariners see or hear anything, to render assistance if possible and contact the Coast Guard.”
A senior law enforcement official briefed on the rescue efforts told CBS4’s Jim DeFede that initial interviews with the survivors say the boat was filled with Cuban migrants trying to make it to Florida. They believe there were 20 people on the boat when it sank about 14 miles off of Key West.READ MORE: Miami-Dade COVID-19 Cases Continue To Spike
A second source also told DeFede that the boat was filled with Cuban migrants, but added that the vessel left from Cuba.
According to the senior law enforcement official, the two bodies were brought to Key West, where the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department will lead the death investigation.
The eight survivors remain on a Coast Guard Cutter. It is not clear what will happen to them. They will either be repatriated to Cuba or could be brought to Florida as potential witnesses in a smuggling case.MORE NEWS: Florida Hospitals Continue Seeing Surge In COVID-19 Patients
The second source described the boat as being a “Cuban Chug,” which is an older style fishing boat with a single engine that’s probably no more than 20 to 25 feet in length. The boat reportedly went down in about 700 feet of water.