The U.S. Coast Guard rescued five Cuban men who said they had been floating at sea in a small raft for 16 days, while another group on a makeshift vessel was thrown overboard off Florida's coast.
The agency said on Twitter late Sunday that the men were 2 miles southeast of the Lake Worth Inlet, near the Port of Palm Beach, when they were picked up. Images posted on the official Twitter account show the group of men in the makeshift vessel wrapped with a black tube and a piece of white cloth that appears to be have been used to sail the raft.
The Coast Guard has not said whether they will be repatriated.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office on Monday released aerial footage that showed another group of Cubans on a homemade vessel that capsized off St. Lucie County Sunday.
Eight Cubans including six men and two pregnant women were on the vessel that was spotted just south of Waveland Beach.
Officials said first responders were heading to the location of the vessel when it took on a large wave, throwing all eight of the people into the water.
Fire rescue workers and civilians worked to get the eight people out, and they were all taken to local hospitals in stable condition. Officials said that group had also been at sea for over 16 days.
On Friday, the Coast Guard said it repatriated seven Cubans who had been at sea for six days when they were caught earlier last week navigating toward Florida in a 15-foot vessel made of wood and aluminum that had no motor. The group was 35 miles east of West Palm Beach when they were intercepted by the Coast Guard on Wednesday.
The two interdictions follow a rescue earlier this month of three Cubans who capsized and survived 33 days on coconut water, shellfish and rats on a deserted island south of Florida.
“The Coast Guard and our partner agencies are aggressively maintaining a presence in the Florida Straits and discourage these dangerous and deadly voyages,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mario Gil, the Coast Guard liaison officer at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in an emailed statement to the media last Friday.