Haitian Migrant Boat Runs Aground as Border Patrol Says It May Be a Human Smuggling Operation

Tags: Currents Family, Haiti, Haitian Americans, Haitian Catholics, Media

Currents News Staff

Adam Hoffner is with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. He describes the scene Sunday when boats filled with migrants came ashore near Ocean Reef in Key Largo, Florida.

“We do suspect that it may be a smuggling operation that did depart from Haiti,” Adam said. “And our concern right now initially is just the safety of all the migrants.”

But Adam says the 158 migrants that attempted to swim ashore is only half of the problem because the boat had about 350 people in it. Among that group, men, women and children and many of them were still on board late Sunday night.

“Two hundred migrants are still on board the actual vessel,” Adam said. “Approximately 150 of them have already been transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard for their safety due to the increasing sea state and poor conditions. The Coast Guard is concerned right now is the safety of the migrants and getting them off that vessel.”

Officials worked through the night to accomplish that mission and they say they are using this situation as a precautionary tale.

“Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities in this event,” Adam said. “If you saw the images of the vessel overloaded severely with 350 migrants, all of their lives were at risk during this journey.”