Cuban migrant boat sinks off Florida due to Hurricane Ian; 20 missing
U.S. Border Patrol said on Wednesday (Sep 28) that 20 people were missing off the coast of Florida after a Cuban migrant boat sank due to Hurricane Ian.
The Border Patrol agents responded to a migrant landing in Stock Island, Florida, officials said on Twitter. The U.S. Coast Guard had initiated a search operation for 23 missing people, with the agency later saying it had rescued three of them. They were taken to a local hospital for symptoms of exhaustion and dehydration.
Four additional Cuban migrants swam to shore after their vessel sank due to inclement weather, Chief Patrol Agent Walter Slosar said. Local media said those four also were hospitalized.
On Tuesday (Sep 27), Hurricane Ian tore into western Cuba as a major hurricane, knocking out power to the entire country and leaving 11 million people without electricity.
Ian's thrashing of Cuba left at least two people dead, both deaths occurring in the hard-hit western province of Pinar del Rio. A woman died after a wall collapsed on her and a man died after his roof fell on him, state media said.
On Wednesday (Sep 28), Hurricane Ian was moving closer to Florida's west coast. The residents emptied grocery shelves, boarded up windows and fled to evacuation shelters.
The first hurricane advisory on Wednesday (Sep 28) put Ian’s maximum sustained winds near 120 mph (195 kilometers per hour), ranking it a Category 3, but said the storm was expected to strengthen to Category 4.
The hurricane hit Cuba at a time of dire economic crisis. Blackouts and long-running shortages of food, medicine and fuel were likely to complicate efforts to recover from Ian.