U.S. Customs and the Coast Guard have taken control of a vessel in distress with 13 Haitian immigrants aboard off the coast of Ft. Pierce.
According to police, The Coast Guard was notified of the vessel shortly after 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
“Our Marine Unit, along with officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission arrived in the area of the vessel in distress and found it was disabled with engine trouble and was anchored,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “The Marine Unit deputy observed 13 individuals who appeared to be Haitian on board the boat and requested the assistance of U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard.”
The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Marine Unit kept boaters away from the vessel as the immigrants were reportedly throwing items overboard.
Those items were not identified.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.