Two people died and eight others were rescued after a boat capsized off Florida’s Lower Keys Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard reports. A search is ongoing for five more people who are missing.
A total of 15 people were reported in the water when a “rustic vessel on an illegal voyage to the United States” capsized 15 miles off Sugarloaf Key, the Coast Guard said. Of the eight rescued, six were taken to a hospital for evaluation. According to the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, a nearby cruise ship rescued one of the people.
Two people were found dead by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers, the Coast Guard said.
The U.S. Coast Guard said that authorities are still looking for five people.
It asked boaters in the area to give the responding agencies space to conduct their search.
“This situation highlights the risks these migrants face as they attempt to enter the United States illegally by sea,” said Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson, commander of the Seventh Coast Guard District. “The Florida Straits and its approaches can be hazardous for even the best trained and equipped mariners. For people illegally migrating aboard unseaworthy or overloaded boats and homemade rafts, who lack basic lifesaving equipment like life jackets, those risks can often prove deadly.”