A Keys law enforcement officer and his friends Saturday rescued three Cuban migrants off Key West who were clinging to a makeshift float in the ocean for more than four days, sheriff's officials said.
The three were taken to Lower Keys Medical Center in Key West. Two were released Monday while one remained, said Adam Linhardt, spokesman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
The men were spotted about 40 miles off the coast of the Lower Keys by Sheriff’s Office Middle Keys Capt. Don Hiller, who was off-duty at the time.
Hiller at first saw a dot on the horizon that looked out of place and steered his 31-foot center console in that direction, along with another friend in a boat behind him.
The boaters, who had gone to the Dry Tortugas for sightseeing on Saturday, came upon the men in the water.
“They were in bad shape, medically,” Hiller said. “They were dehydrated and had severe sun exposure. One man was semi-conscious. He was in very bad shape. One guy laid down on the deck and just started sobbing.”
With storms rolling in, Hiller said, the goal was to get them to shore as quickly as possible.
Hiller decided to run the men directly to Coast Guard Station Key West and he delivered them to paramedics, who were waiting on the shore.
The men told Hiller they had been adrift for more than four days, Linhardt said.