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Cubans' Boat Is Found; 30 Feared Lost

November 22, 2001|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Relatives of 30 Cubans whose vessel capsized in rough seas hoped desperately for encouraging news Wednesday as the Coast Guard found a boat but no survivors.

Authorities said they found a capsized white, 30-foot twin-engine craft that may have been carrying the Cubans, including 12 or more children, on a clandestine trip to the United States. Family members of the Cubans said they left Cuba in a speedboat Friday and were expected in Florida by Saturday.

"A lot could have happened. I don't want to speculate, but it's not a very good scenario--rough seas, children aboard, not a lot of food and water aboard," said Luis Diaz, a spokesman at the Coast Guard's district headquarters in Miami. "We've given it our best shot."

The boat's ownership hasn't been determined, but Diaz said officials are "at least 90% certain" it was carrying the Cubans. The Coast Guard suspended the search at sunset Wednesday.

The capsized boat could represent the largest death toll in recent years by Cubans trying to make the 90-mile trip to Florida.

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