More than 100 people were rescued from an overloaded sailboat before it hit a shoal in the Florida Keys on Monday, the US Coast Guard said.
A good Samaritan reported the vessel to Key West watchmen around 5 am local time, Coast Guard District 7. tweeted.
Crews responded to the incident off Rodriguez Key after receiving “reports of people in the water,” the tweet said.
They encountered “6 to 10 foot seas, 25 mph winds to get people off the boat safely,” the Coast Guard said.
The rescue effort appeared to be an hour-long effort, with officials saying the weather and rough seas presented “a challenge.”
Initially, the Coast Guard said 22 people were rescued from the overloaded sailboat.
He later revised that number to more than 100 people, saying dozens had been rescued before the boat hit a sandbar off Whale Harbor. The nationalities of the people aboard the ship were not immediately clear until early Tuesday morning.
The rescue comes as the Southeast Coast Guard said it would call off the search for possible survivors after a homemade boat carrying migrants from Cuba capsized off the Florida coast over the weekend.
A total of 19 people are believed to be on the boat and survivors reported four people drowning immediately after it capsized Saturday, Coast Guard District 7 said.
The crew of the Coast Guard Pablo Valent rescued nine people and recovered one body, while on Sunday and Monday, crews recovered five bodies, Coast Guard District 7 said in a statement. Press release.
“Our condolences go out to the family and friends of those presumed lost at sea,” Cmdr. Richard Armstrong, Deputy Sector Commander for Coast Guard Sector Key West, in a statement Monday night announcing the suspension of the search for survivors.
Armstrong said the life jackets worn by some of those on the ship “certainly saved their lives in treacherous sea conditions.”
Marlene Lenthang contributed.