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Posted December 16, 2003 by publisher in Cuban Culture

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Associated Press

MIAMI—Ten Cubans trying to reach Florida likely drowned when their homemade boat was destroyed by rough seas, the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday.

A Coast Guard cutter on Monday picked up a 24-year-old man who is believed to be the boat’s sole survivor. He was clinging to two inner tubes in the Atlantic about 9 miles east of Miami. On Wednesday, a boater found the body of a person believed to be among the victims.

The survivor, whose name was not released, told the Coast Guard that he and 10 other people had left Matanzas, Cuba, on Nov. 27 in a 14-foot vessel that was later destroyed in bad weather. Weather in the Florida Straits during that time was unusually cold, with 17-30 mph winds and 3- to 7-foot seas, officials said.

Coast Guard and immigration service planes, helicopters and boats have searched unsuccessfully for the boat and the other people. Marine broadcasts also told vessels to be on the lookout, but officials had little hope for any other survivors.

Since January 2000, 200 migrants have died in the Caribbean Sea and Florida Straits attempting to reach the United States, officials said.

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