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Men sail stormy seas from Cuba in make-shift boat

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. – Six Cubans in a decrepit make-shift boat made landfall at Isla Mujeres over the weekend after having sailed at sea for more than 15 days.

The five men and one woman, who landed at Isla Mujeres over the weekend, said they were at sea for at least 15 days constantly overcoming bad weather, heavy rains and strong winds that caused massive sea swells that threatened their lives.

According to one of the men aboard the battered boat, their goal was to land in the United States, but poor weather conditions forced them to reroute to the coast of Quintana Roo.

The Policía Municipal Preventiva were alerted that a boat and people were making landfall at around 4:30 Saturday afternoon. According to the police, the boat was detected by the harbormaster at around noon but was having trouble reaching the coast of the island due to strong winds.

Once the boat began to near shore, Joaquin Acosta Poot, director of Public Safety and Traffic, notified the Mexican Navy. The Navy patrol came to their aid in a rocky area where dozens of islanders stood and applauded the efforts of the near-drowned boaters.

When ashore, locals offered them help, including legal aid. The Cuban passengers were taken in and given dry clothes, food and hot beverages. Paramedics were also on the scene providing each of them with on-site medical care. They were eventually transferred to the Red Cross. All were noted as being in good health.

A review of their vessel showed the boat had begun to take on water and would have required a superhuman effort to prevent the boat from sinking while they sailed. Those on board ranged in age from 27 to 54. The six were eventually handed over to the National Migration Institute (INM).

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