PROGRESO, YUCATÁN. – Two Yucatecan fishing boats found 22 Cuban rafters who left the island of Cuba with the intention of reaching the coasts of Florida. However, severe weather conditions and strong winds on high seas led the boats to the coast of Yucatan instead.
According to information provided by the commander of the Ninth Naval Zone, based at the Port of Yucalpetén and in charge of Vice Admiral Felipe Solano Armenta, a group of Cubans was found on Sunday May 17th, at eight o’clock in the morning, drifting ashore 12 miles north of Progreso, Yucatán, Mexico.
They were found by a fishing boat named “Gladiador” while returning from a fishing trip. The fishermen gave part to the navy, and maritime authorities finally rescued a boat with 12 Cuban citizens aboard, all males.
The Ninth Naval Zone sent Yucatan ARM-224 patrol vessel to help the Cubans dissidents, and transferred them to a militar facility in Yucalpeten, Yucatán, arriving at 12:45 hours, where Navy medical staff performed a general checkup on the rafters, finding them all in good health; and finally, at 3:45 pm, after the medical examination, they were handed over to immigration authorities and brought to Merida.
The Cubans had spent 16 days adrift after leaving the island of Cuba.
Another group of 10 Cuban rafters who fled from their home island were also found on Monday May 18th, around 8 am by the “Tropico” fishing boat, 135 miles north-northeast from the the port of El Cuyo, Yucatán.
Mexican Navy officials sent another marine patrol to the rescue and the second group was also taken to Merida and handed over to the Immigration authorities (INM).
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