Cuba Culture

Cubans found at sea on pickup truck converted to motor raft

Posted July 25, 2003 by publisher in Cuba Culture.

Associated Press

MIAMI - Cuban migrants fashioned a boat out of a 1951 Chevy pickup truck and “drove” it to within 40 miles of the United States before they were spotted and returned to the island, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.


Twelve Cuban migrants attempt to cross the Straits of Florida Wednesday, July 16, 2003, in a boat fashioned out of a 1951 Chevy pickup truck driving it within 40 miles of the United States before they were found by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned to the island. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, Gregory Wald)

The dozen migrants, some sheltered in the truck cab or under a yellow tarp covering the bed, were noticed last week by a U.S. Customs aircraft south of Key West, Coast Guard Petty Officer Ryan Doss said.

A propeller attached to the drive shaft of the green vintage pickup was pushing it along at about 8 mph, Doss said. The truck-raft was kept afloat by empty 55-gallon drums attached to the bottom as pontoons.

Migrants have been found on rafts or small boats made out of refrigerators, bathtubs, surfboards and inner tubes, but the truck was believed to be a first.

“We haven’t come across any vehicles like that before,” Doss said.

Member Comments

On September 09, 2004, Chico wrote:

All these guys should be accepted in the states and given a full scholarship at M.I.T. in engineering!

On November 17, 2004, Eileen wrote:

I heard the Coast Guard sunk the truck, and I think that’ a shame!  I believe we should have such vessels on public display to show the drive of Freedom!  Does the Coast Guard keep a record of where the vessels are sunk?  Is it legal to resurect the vessels??  Let’ start a museum! 

On December 08, 2004, Staples wrote:

They should let those people over.

On June 28, 2009, george wrote:

i know those people i play with luis grass son his name is angel grass hes 9 they live in front of me hialeah florida yes thats in miami