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Latino Daily News

Friday December 9, 2011

5 Drown, 20 more Rescued While Trying to Flee Cuba

5 Drown, 20 more Rescued While Trying to Flee Cuba

Photo: Cuba illegal boat capsizes

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

At least five people died when the makeshift boat in which they intended to leave Cuba capsized, the Communist Party daily Granma said Friday.

According to a note from the Interior Ministry published in Granma, another 18 people on the boat were rescued by employees of the SEPSA company, oil workers and border troops from the Palmarejo area in the western province of Mayabeque.

The note said that the body of a person who died trying to reach the shore was found this Thursday and that, according to survivors, another four died when the shoddy boat “capsized due to the power of the waves.”

Those who were rescued said that more than 20 people were in the boat and that they had left Cuba from a point north of the western province of Artemisa in late November.

The communique said that combined armed forces groups and the Interior Ministry “are carrying out an intense aerial search” for “possible survivors and for the bodies of those killed in this unfortunate accident” both at sea and along the north coast of the island.

Authorities “are investigating the circumstances that caused the incident,” Granma said.

Under Washington’s “wet foot, dry foot” policy, Cubans who manage to set foot on U.S. territory can apply for permanent residence a year later.

The Cuban government considers that policy an incitement for people to leave the island illegally.