Coast Guard Comes to the Rescue of Castaways Living Off Rats and Coconuts on Deserted Island


Three Cuban nationals were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard after they survived off of coconuts and rats while on a deserted island for 33 days, the agency announced Wednesday.

A Coast Guard Air Station Miami HC-144 Ocean Sentry was on a routine patrol Monday when they saw the three people brandishing a makeshift flag, according to a news release.

The sentry sent the three people food, water and a radio in order to communicate as a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 helicopter crew was dispatched to the island.

The Cuban nationals were stuck for 33 days on Anguilla Cay in the Bahamas, according to the news release.

The island is located between Cuba and the Lower Florida Keys, according to CNN.

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Lt. Justin Dougherty said the Cuban nationals swam to the island after their boat capsized in choppy seas and survived for 33 days, according to WPLG-TV.

“That is pretty extraordinary. It was incredible,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty further said it was likely they lived off of coconuts, according to WPLG. The survivors told the Coast Guard team they ate conch and rat meat and a water shortage would’ve killed them.

“I don’t know how they did it. I am amazed that they were in such good shape,” Dougherty said.

The helicopter team brought the Cuban nationals, two men and a woman, to Lower Keys Medical Center and the survivors sustained no reported injuries, according to the press release.

WPLG reported the Cubans have since been transferred into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Pompano Beach.

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“Thanks to our aircrews diligently conducting routine patrols, we were able to spot people in distress and intervene,” Sean Connett, command duty officer at Coast Guard Seventh District said, according to the press release.

“This was a very complex operation involving asset and crews from different units, but thanks to good communication and coordination between command centers and pilots, we were able to safely get everyone to a medical facility before the situation could worsen.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marine Brandon Murray, a public affairs specialist for Coast Guard District 7 External Affairs, said their role was exclusively search and rescue and referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to Lower Keys Medical Hospital.

Lower Keys Medical Hospital had no further comment.

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