U. S. News

US Coast Guard rescues trio from deserted island where they were stranded for 33 days

U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued three people Tuesday who were stranded on an island in the Bahamas for over a month.
The trio — two men and a woman from Cuba — was stranded on Anguilla Cay.
“These are the types of missions that we join the Coast Guard to do, to go out there and save people’s lives,” said Lt. Mike Allert, U.S. Coast Guard Aircraft Commander.
The island is small, filled with palm trees shrubs and rocky grounds.
Allert says it’s what the group made that grabbed their attention.
“We saw the large flags that they have made out of driftwood and fabric,” Lt. Allert said. “And a large wooden cross that they have made out of driftwood, that was the most visible. We flew right to them after we saw that.”
As the U.S. Coast Guard dropped food, water and a radio to be able to communicate. They also noticed the group built themselves a makeshift shelter.


The rescue was delayed 24 hours due to weather, according to the Coast Guard.
Allert and his crew eventually hoisted them into the helicopter hours later.
“They were able to walk, but just barely. They were suffering from a lot of fatigue and dehydration due to being out there for so long,” he said. “We didn’t have blankets for them in the aircraft, but we did have Tyvek suits, which helped them keep warmer.
They identified themselves as Cuban nationals, according to Allert.
“They didn’t live much further south than where these islands are,” he said. “They were definitely very happy to see us. They were in good spirits.”
Allert says the group lived off of conch and rats for 33 days, after their boat capsized in rough waters.
“The conch shells were definitely all over the place,” he said, adding that the lack of fresh water would’ve killed them.

A helicopter crew took the trio to Lower Keys Medical Center with no reported injuries, according to Coast Guard officials.
Border patrol authorities eventually took them into custody before transferring them to a facility in Pompano Beach.
Allert says it’s unclear if they were just fishing and their boat capsized, or trying to get to another country.
What’s certain, he says, is they’re lucky they were found alive.
“We are very blessed, I would say, to be able to have the opportunity to do this and help somebody else in this way,” Allert said.

They told the helicopter crew that their boat capsized nearly five weeks ago and they were able to swim to the deserted island, according to the Sun Sentinel. It was not clear if they were migrants trying to make it to the U.S. or another country, or if they were fishermen lost at sea.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Brandon Murray told the Sun Sentinel it was incredible that these people survived.
“I cannot recall a time that we saved people who were stranded for over a month on an island,” he said. “That is a new one for me.”

Viola Higgins

I’m a mother of 2 little angels that I continuously try to figure out and spend the other half figuring out how to be a great wife. Writing is my passion and I write regularly for the Virginian Tribune and several other national news outlets.

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