Cubans set sail after 24-hour stop on AC

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Shortly after 2:00am on December 29th 2010, the San Pedro Police Department received information of a vessel that had washed ashore on the northern end of San Pedro near the Boca del Rio area. Police officers were quickly dispatched to the scene where upon arrival they discovered seven male individuals who had landed ashore in a roughly made wooden boat sealed with what appeared to be black tar. The vessel had a make shift diesel motor, adapted from what appeared to have been a vehicle engine and a sail attached to a wooden pole. Inside the boat were several gallon containers, one containing diesel, plus empty water bottles, clothes and a large antique compass.

The men were escorted to the San Pedro Police Station, where they received medical attention from Dr. Teresa Damera, who cleared them as being in good health. The men were later identified as; David Cruz, 24 year old; Yuriel Mendez, 25 years old; Jesus Garcia, 45 years old; Tendis Rodriguez, 27 years old; Pascual Mendez, 49 years old; Yendys Cruz, 27 years old and Herdius Cruz, 27 years old, all Cuban laborers. The group was reportedly shipwrecked and floated to shore.

The gentlemen were being housed at the police station, awaiting clearance from the Immigration Department.

The Sun got word on Thursday December 30th that the Cuban nationals were allowed to continue their journey. Sgt. Dominguez of the San Pedro Police Department confirmed the release, and explained that it was as a result of directives from Belmopan.

Mr. Allen Whylie, CEO of the Ministry of Defense and Foreign Affairs further confirmed, “they were released on Humanitarian Grounds and were allowed to leave the country in their craft. Their craft which was damaged was repaired with assistance from individuals on the island. Belize was not their final destinations and the only reason why they were here was as a result of mechanical problems and issues with their vessel.”

Sources inform us that the stranded Cuban nationals were at sea for about 15 days, en route to Grand Cayman when they experienced difficulty at sea and eventually drifted to Belize.

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