2 bodies recovered, 16 still missing after boat carrying migrants sinks off Florida during Hurricane Ian

Two people have been found dead and 16 others were still missing two days after a boat carrying 27 Cuban migrants sank off the coast of Florida as Hurricane Ian slammed into the state, the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday.

After the boat capsized Wednesday, four of the people on board swam to Stock Island, just east of Key West, the U.S. Border Patrol said. On Thursday, the Coast Guard said a total of nine people had been safely located and rescued.

The Coast Guard’s 7th District said in separate tweets Friday that two bodies had been recovered — one near Ocean Edge Marina and one in Boca Chica Channel.

Air and sea crews continued to search for 16 people still believed to be missing.

“We can only pray our crews find them so their families and loved ones can rest,” Coast Guard Captain Robert Kinsey said in a statement.  “Our air and surface crews are patrolling and are on the lookout to prevent illegal and unsafe ventures.”

The Coast Guard also said that it had repatriated 120 Cubans to Cuba on Friday, after several vessels were intercepted off Florida’s coast during the hurricane.

“Taking to the sea any time carries significant risk,” Kinsey said. “Taking to the sea during a hurricane is flat out reckless.”

The storm previously killed two people in Cuba, and brought down the country’s electrical grid.

Ian made landfall near Cayo Costa, Florida, on Wednesday as a major Category 4 storm — the second-strongest possible category on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

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