The RCIPS and Cayman Islands Coast Guard were able to rescue eight Cuban migrants from the waters of Cayman Brac throughout Saturday, following an extensive search and rescue mission. However, they eventually had to turn the search and rescue into a search and recovery mission later that day for two remaining migrants, based upon the known in-water survivability rate.
The Coast Guard said one male migrant was found in Spot Bay, Cayman Brac at approximately 7:00am and then, later in the day at noon, a second male migrant was rescued by a private vessel from the waters off Cayman Brac and went to Faith Hospital to receive medical treatment.
According to the Coast Guard, at approximately 1:15pm a further three male migrants were rescued by a private vessel at sea off Cayman Brac with one of the three migrants being located nearer to Point of Sand in Little Cayman. The three migrants were all assessed by Emergency Medical Services officers and taken to Faith Hospital for medical treatment.
At approximately 3:30pm, the RCIPS Helicopter crew spotted two additional male migrants at sea approximately nine miles north of Cayman Brac. The two migrants were rescued by Cayman Islands Fire Service, CBC and the Cayman Islands Coast Guard officers on board the Fire Rescue vessel and were transported to shore where they were assessed by EMS officers. They received medical treatment at the Faith Hospital.
At approximately 5:15 pm, another male migrant was spotted walking in Stake Bay Cayman Brac, bringing the total number of survivors to eight.
The operation was a joint effort involving the Cayman Islands Coast Guard, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service - Air Operations Unit, Cayman Islands Fire Service, and Cayman Brac Customs & Border Control.
In addition, Evol Miller and Leanna Jackson conducted a jet ski rescue of three individuals.
Those involved in the mission extended their heartfelt gratitude to the courageous members of the public who selflessly volunteered their boats to aid in this rescue operation, they said.
“Your efforts have truly made a difference, and we appreciate your unwavering support,” rescuers confirmed.
Director of CBC Charles Clifford said in addition to their multi-agency response to the incident, many members of the Cayman Brac public also engaged in the search and rescue effort and they were eternally grateful for their help.
“We will no doubt have an opportunity in the future to highlight and properly recognise their invaluable assistance,” he said.
Officials urged everyone to stay informed and follow official announcements regarding the ongoing search and rescue operation. If you have any information that could assist in locating the remaining individuals, please dial 9-1-1 or reach out to the relevant authorities as soon as possible.