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Coast Guard susends search for nine suspected Cuban migrants

Boat capsized off Lake Worth Beach over weekend
Coast Guard search.JPG
Posted at 8:46 PM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 20:46:46-05

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday announced it has suspended a search for nine suspected Cuban migrants whose boat capsized off the Palm Beach County coast over the weekend.

In a Twitter post, the Coast Guard said it has suspended the search "pending new information."

Crews searched 2,485 miles "with no signs of distress."

"Our condolences go out to the loved ones of those lost at sea," Coast Guard said.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. Sunday, a good Samaritan rescued one person off Lake Worth Beach. The survivor reported he and nine others left Cuba on Dec. 10 and the vessel capsized early Sunday morning.

The survivor is now in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Elaine Gonzalez said one of the 10 people on the boat is her relative, Lazara Comas. Gonzalez didn't speak much English but came to NewsChannel 5 looking for answers for her cousin, and for the other people on the boat, one of whom she believes is 18 years old. 

Gonzalez said she is suffering not just because of the knowledge her relative is still missing, but also because of the reason ten people would risk their lives in search of freedom. 

According to Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrant encounters in South Florida increased 500% between October and December of this year compared to the same time frame in 2021.

Sunday's migrant encounter marks the fourth in WPTV's five-county area in the past month and the third in Palm Beach County alone.