MIAMI – The Coast Guard on Thursday said a 6-year-old boy died when he was trapped beneath an overturned go-fast boat suspected of smuggling him and other migrants into the country from Cuba.
Posted October 13 2005, 12:40 PM EDT
Here’s what the Coast Guard said happened starting around 12:58 a.m. in the Florida Straits about 45 miles south of Key West:
A 33-foot go-fast boat was spotted on radar and the cutter Dauntless gave chase, locating it visually at 1:01 a.m. The operator of the smuggling vessel refused orders to stop and began erratically maneuvering his boat away.
The crew of the Dauntless said it lost sight of the boat at that point.
The high-speed was found about 20 minutes later, capsized. Thirty people were found clinging to its hull.
The Coast Guard launched a rescue boat and picked up 10 people and at 1:40 a.m. a Customs and Border Protection boat crew joined in the rescue, plucking the 20 other migrants from the water.
While questioning the migrants it was learned the 6-year-old boy was missing.
A Coast Guard helicopter was called in and began searching the waters for the missing boy while the Dauntless crew began righting the overturned vessel. When the hull of the go-fast was righted, crewmen found the boy underneath dead.
The migrants were turned over to immigration and customs agents for questioning and processing. They are being kept on a boat at sea. All are expected to be returned to their homeland. It was not immediately known where the people left from.
The Coast Guard said the boat’s operator was rescued from the sea and is undergoing questioning. An investigation into the smuggling venture and the child’s death continues.