Four Haitians who were rescued from a fatal boat that capsized in waters off Miami Beach last week have been released from U.S. immigration custody.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Nestor Yglesias confirmed the release but didn't identify the Haitians who were aboard the boat when it capsized about seven nautical miles from Government Cut last Wednesday. Four out of 15 people on the boat died in the incident.
"The four surviving Haitian nationals from last Wednesday's failed smuggling venture have been processed and are no longer in ICE custody," Yglesias said in an emailed statement to NBC 6 South Florida Wednesday. He didn't say where they are.
Authorities said 15 people were aboard the boat, which had left from the Bahamas carrying Haitians, Jamaicans and Bahamians. None of them had permission to enter the U.S. and it's believed it was a smuggling operation.
One of the people aboard the boat was able to call 911 for help.
"We 25 miles out from South Beach, we need a rescue out here bad," the caller said, as yelling and screaming is heard in the background. "The boat is sinking."
When the Coast Guard found the boat, nine people were clinging to the side. The bodies of four Haitian women were later found near the boat.
Six people, including the boat's captain, have been arrested in the incident. Court records showed all of the migrants arrested had previously been deported from the U.S., most after being convicted of serious crimes.
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