November 7, 2005, 7:10 AM EST
MIAMI—A speedboat carrying 37 suspected migrants capsized off Key West, killing two Cuban women whose bodies were found trapped under the boat, the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday.
After the boat was spotted Saturday, a Coast Guard rescue boat was sent out and took about 15 people off the speedboat, leaving life jackets for the rest. It was returning for the others when the speedboat capsized, Petty Officer Dana Warr said.
Twenty-two people were dumped in the water. All but the two women found under the boat with lifejackets on were rescued and taken to a Coast Guard cutter.
One suspected smuggler was among the group, Warr said. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was investigating.
“There were 37 people on a 28-foot boat and it was grossly overloaded, probably beyond the specifications of that boat,” Warr said.
Under U.S. policy, Cuban migrants intercepted at sea are usually returned to Cuba, while those who reach U.S. soil are generally allowed to stay.
Earlier Saturday, the bodies of three women thought to be Haitian migrants washed ashore on Pompano Beach in South Florida, authorities said.
They were believed to be among a group of people who apparently were trying to illegally migrate to the United States, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Liz Calzadilla-Fiallo. A deputy saw 10 to 12 people running from the water nearby, and five were detained, Calzadilla-Fiallo said.
The U.S. Coast Guard searched waters near the coastline where three bodies were found but found no boat, said ICE spokeswoman Barbara Gonzalez