Twenty people were reported missing by the U.S. Border Patrol on Wednesday after Hurricane Ian caused a Cuban migrant boat to start sinking off the coast of Florida.
According to tweets from government officials, Border Patrol agents responded to a migrant landing in Stock Island, Florida. Initiating a search operation for 23 people who had vanished, the U.S. Coast Guard later announced that it had found and saved three of them. They experienced signs of dehydration and exhaustion, so they were taken to a nearby hospital.
According to Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar, four more Cuban migrants made it to shore by swimming after their boat sank because of bad weather. According to local media, those four were also hospitalized.
On Tuesday, the hurricane tore through Cuba, destroying the western portion of the island with strong winds and flooding, and bringing down the electrical grid for 11 million people. Early on Wednesday, the island’s eastern end had started to receive power again, according to the state electricity provider.
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At least two people died as a result of Ian’s thrashing of Cuba, both of whom were killed in the severely damaged western province of Pinar del Rio. State media reported that a man and woman both perished after their roofs collapsed, the woman after a wall fell on her.
The hurricane struck Cuba during a severe economic downturn. The process of recovering from Ian was probably going to be complex by blackouts and persistent shortages of food, medicine, and fuel.
In Pompano Beach, Florida, on Tuesday, seven Cuban migrants who had made it to shore were captured, according to American authorities.
Officials issued a warning on Twitter on Tuesday when they announced those detentions: “Do not risk your life by attempting this journey at sea. Storm surge along with King tide can create treacherous sea conditions even after a storm passes.” King tides are particularly high and may result in coastal flooding.
The hurricane started battering Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday with strong winds and heavy rain.
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