23 migrants missing, 4 swim to shore as boat sinks off Keys amid Hurricane Ian

Nearly two dozen Cuban migrants were missing in the waters off the Florida Keys Wednesday morning after their vessel sank in the Straits of Florida, a U.S. Border Patrol official says.

Four migrants were able to swim to shore.

Their journey came as Hurricane Ian zeroed in on Florida, with high winds and rain pummeling the Keys the day prior.

Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar, who leads the Border Patrol’s Miami sector, tweeted that the four migrants who made it to shore landed on the southern part of Stock Island, immediately east of Key West.

Their exact medical conditions aren’t clear.

#BREAKING: U.S. Border Patrol agents along with support from @mcsonews responded to a migrant landing in Stock Island #Florida. 4 Cuban migrants swam to shore after their vessel sank due to inclement weather. @USCGSoutheast initiated a #SAR operation to search for 23 individuals. pic.twitter.com/yUurGfSOSe

— Chief Patrol Agent Walter N. Slosar (@USBPChiefMIP) September 28, 2022

Slosar attributed the sinking to “inclement weather.”

Officials were expected to release more information about the search Wednesday afternoon.

Officials have warned migrants against taking to the seas in general, but especially during hurricane conditions, which make an already treacherous journey even more perilous.

On Tuesday, as weather conditions deteriorated, a group of seven Cuban migrants made it to shore on Pompano Beach.

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