3 Cubans Wash Ashore in Miami, 4 Missing After Boat Sinks - NBC 6 South Florida

3 Cubans Wash Ashore in Miami, 4 Missing After Boat Sinks

Group left Havana on wooden boat Wednesday, reach Miami a day later

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    3 Cubans Wash Ashore in Miami, 4 Missing After Boat Sinks
    Julia Bagg/NBCMiami.com
    Osmany Cala, Leonel Caea and Larizat Perez.

    Three Cuban refugees made it ashore and four others were missing after their boat sank off Miami Beach Thursday morning, U.S. Coast Guard officials said.

    According to the Coast Guard, the three survivors -- 46-year-old Osmany Cala, 44-year-old Leonel Caea, and 31-year-old Larizat Perez -- had left Havana around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday with four others on a 15-20 foot wooden boat with an outboard motor.

    When the boat began to sink, the group split into two, clinging to innertubes.

    Cala, Caea and Perez arrived at the Tropical Food Market at 1025 Northeast 79th Street around 5:30 a.m., where owner Ruben Lopez gave them food and towels to warm them up.

    The four others, three men and one woman, were still missing late Thursday morning and the Coast Guard had initiated a sea and air search for them, officials said.

    The three who made it were taken by U.S. Border Patrol for processing.

    Lopez told an NBC Miami reporter in Spanish she'd come to the U.S. because she "wanted a better life" and that "things were ugly in Cuba."