Fort Lauderdale

Group of Migrants Come Ashore in Fort Lauderdale, 5 Taken Into Custody

Group was on boat stolen in Bahamas

Five men were taken into custody after a group of migrants came ashore in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday, authorities said.

The migrants reached land in the area of the 2000 block of Southeast 17th Street near the Hyatt Regency at Pier 66 around 10 a.m.

U.S. Border Patrol officials said five men of various nationalities were arrested at the scene. One was hospitalized for possible dehydration.

Witnesses said they saw people running from a boat that reached the marina before it could be stopped by authorities.

"They were pulling this boat over and the boat got to the shore and I saw three people run off the boat and scatter into that parking lot," said one witness, who didn't want his name used.

The owner of the boat said it had been stolen in the Bahamas. Derek Koser, of South Carolina, said his family had been visiting the island of Bimini and woke up to find the boat missing.

"We were going to go fishing, well, we walk outside and the boat's not there. We were like 'what the heck? Where can the boat possibly be?'" Koser said.

Footage showed dozens of Fort Lauderdale Police and Customs and Border Protection officers at the scene. Some agents appeared to be collecting evidence from the boat.

Border Patrol officials said it appeared to be a "maritime smuggling event," with an unknown number of migrants.

Authorities were searching for other migrants who may have made it ashore, officials said. The five who were in custody were taken to the Dania Beach Border Patrol station for processing, officials said.

No other information was immediately known.

Check back with NBC 6 for updates.

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