Twenty Cuban migrants are missing after their boat sank off the coast of Key West, Florida, due to Hurricane Ian on Wednesday morning.
US Border Patrol agents rescued three people found in the water about two miles south of Boca Chica. Four others from the boat swam to shore earlier this morning as the storm rolled over the Florida coast.
All seven were taken to the hospital to be treated for exhaustion and dehydration.
“U.S. Border Patrol agents … have responded to the landing of a migrant in Stock Island, Florida,” Miami chief patrol agent Walter Slosar said on Twitter. “Four Cuban migrants swam ashore after their ship sank due to bad weather.”
US officials have warned migrants against making the already dangerous journey across the sea long before Hurricane Ian hit the Florida coast.
Coast Guard flight crews are still searching for the other migrants who went missing Thursday morning.
“Don’t jeopardize your life by attempting this sea voyage. Storm surge combined with king tide can create treacherous sea conditions even after the storm has passed,” Slosar added on Twitter.
One of the migrants told Local 10 News they traveled “for the right to freedom”.
“From Friday at 1 a.m. to Tuesday we were at sea for six days,” the migrant told the TV station in Spanish.
Days before the storm hit Florida, it swept across Cuba, destroying the power grid and leaving 11 million people without power.
At least two people died in the storm in Cuba.
Ian is expected to continue wreaking havoc on Florida Thursday and the weekend as it heads north, heading towards Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The storm hit Florida with winds of 150 mph on Wednesday but has since weakened with sustained 65 mph winds.
About 2.5 million people in Florida are currently without power, and 14,000 in Georgia are without power before the hurricane is expected to sweep through the state.
Florida’s Atlantic coast could experience a 6-foot storm surge from northeast Orlando to Georgia, according to the hurricane center.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/09/29/hurricane-ian-3-people-rescued-20-missing-after-migrant-boat-sinks-17475629/ Hurricane Ian: 3 people rescued, 20 missing after migrant boat sinks