LAKE WORTH, Fla. - A Lake Worth Family's cruise turned into a rescue operation on Thursday on the Norwegian Pearl when cruisers spotted a sinking boat with dozens of Cubans aboard.
"We were eating lunch and had this great seat by the window and looked to the side and we saw that, we stopped moving," Lhisa Almashy said.
Almashy was cruising with her mother and teen daughter.
"They were waving a white shirt and their boat was taking on water," Almashy said.
The pleasure cruise turned frantic.
"It was a wooden boat you might take in our Intracoastal. Very small. And there were twenty four people in it including little kids," Almashy said.
Almashy began taking video and pictures with her camera.
The ship sent out a lifeboat and brought the Cubans aboard.
Almashy's daughter had questions.
"What is going to happen to them, she asked. Are they safe? Would they have died," Almashy said.
A few hours later, the US Coast Guard showed up and the Cubans were transferred to a Coast Guard cutter.
Everyone on the cruise ship was talking about it.
"Some were saying they should be sent back. Other people were sad. Some women were crying because they realized how sad it must be," Almashy said.
Almashy says a photo she snapped of the empty boat will stay with her forever.
"When I looked at that, it was a haunting image of people trying for the American Dream. It was very symbolic of the hopes and the risks," Almashy said.
A spokeswoman with the US Coast Guard says the Cubans are being held on a cutter until they are interviewed by Border Patrol.
None of them had serious medical issues according to authorities.