Crews from the United States Coast Guard rescued three Cuban nationals who reportedly were stranded on a deserted island near the Bahamas for more than a month after their boat capsized and they swam ashore.
A news release said a crew from the Air Station Miami spotted the three people while on a routine patrol Monday near Anguilla Cay. Coast Guard officials say the three people told them they had been on the island for 33 days.
"Thanks to our aircrews diligently conducting routine patrols, we were able to spot people in distress and intervene," Sean Connett, command duty officer at Coast Guard Seventh District, said in the release. "Thanks to good communication and coordination between command centers and pilots, we were able to safely get everyone to a medical facility before the situation could worsen."
The crew dropped food, water and a radio in an effort to establish communication while another helicopter crew was deployed to the scene.
The trio told the crew they had survived on conchs, and Coast Guard officials said shells were scattered all over. Officials said the people were very weak and dehydrated.
"All of them were very weak and fatigued, showing definite signs of just being out in the elements for an extended period of time. Dehydration was definitely a big factor for them as well," Coast Guard Lt. Mike Allert said. "Anytime you are in a position where you are stranded for an extended period of time, on an island that not a lot of people go out to, this island is out in the middle of nowhere, it is absolutely a miracle.”
Two men and one woman were rescued and transported to Lower Keys Memorial Center with no injuries reported. Border Patrol agents have taken custody of the three and transferred them to a facility in Pompano Beach.
It was not immediately clear whether they were migrants attempting to come to the United States, or if they were just lost at sea, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Murray told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
“I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island,” he told the newspaper. “That is a new one for me.”