Haitian Migrants 'Abandoned by Smugglers' on Island Off Puerto Rico, US Officials Say

Twelve Haitian migrants who spent five days on a uninhabited island near Puerto Rico, where human smugglers abandoned them, were rescued on Tuesday, November 15, the US Coast Guard said.

A small campfire that the migrants built on Monito Cay caught the attention of US Border Patrol agents on Monday, authorities said.

The coast guard then dispatched a cutter to the island. The group of seven men and five women then made their way down a rocky cliff and jumped one by one into the water, the coast guard said.

Footage released by officials on Facebook shows a coast guard vessel approaching the cliffs. A man with a life jacket attached to a rope jumps down in to the water and is helped on to the boat by the crew.

According to the authorities, the group was given food, water, and basic medical care and were then transferred to Ramey Sector US Border Patrol agents in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

“We urge anyone considering taking part in an illegal voyage that they do not take to the sea. The dangers of these voyages are quite real, and smugglers will not hesitate to abandon people in very austere and highly dangerous environments like Monito," said Lt Henry Ward, commanding officer of US Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Tezanos. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan via Storyful

Video transcript